Global semiconductor revenue in 2018 is now expected to reach $473.8 billion and clock a growth rate of 15 percent, a significant upward revision from the 7.5 percent expansion (to $442.9 billion) forecast at the start of the year by six research and investment forecasts tracked by SEMI Industry Research and Statistics.
Data center growth will remain robust in the coming quarters, fueling demand for memory devices. In addition, cloud computing will continue to spur strong CPU, GPU, networking, ASIC, and DRAM and NAND demand through 2019, driving a consensus 3.63 percent year-to-year growth to reach the semiconductor revenue of $491 billion in 2019.
Fab equipment spending (new and used) for 2018 is expected to increase by 14 percent to a record high of $63 billion, according to the last data from the SEMI World Fab Forecast, published by SEMI IR&S. For 2019, fab equipment spending (new and used) is expected to increase 8 percent to another record of just under $68 billion.
Memory continues to be the biggest swing factor in fab spending in 2018 and is expected to lead growth into 2020. 3D NAND will see the most capacity added in 2018 and 2019 with growth of 41 percent in 2018 and 27 percent in 2019, according to the SEMI World Fab Forecast. DRAM investment will see even stronger growth in 2018 and 2019 driven by new capacity addition as well as the continued technology shrink towards 1y/1z nm.
For the first half of 2018, global spending for semiconductor fab equipment continues its growth momentum from 2017. Though we expect some softness in the second half of 2018, the outlook for 2019 remains robust with a fourth consecutive year of growth – the first such run since the 1990s. This prolonged growth cycle has been propelled by memory and will be extended by significant investment in China in 2019. Although a potential slowdown in 2020 is a concern, the overall outlook for semiconductor demand remains solid due to broad-based growth trends in data center, artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning (ML), automotive, and industrial segments.
Other SEMI forecasts for fab spending:
- 200mm fab capacity will increase 4 percent in 2018 and 3 percent in 2019, fueled by demand for MCU, sensors, PMIC, MOSFET and Driver IC.
- 3D NAND will see the most capacity added in both 2018 and 2019 with growth of 41 percent in 2018 and 27 percent in 2019.
- Foundry capacity growth is steady at 3 percent in 2018 and 6 percent in 2019, driven by both leading-edge and trailing-edge capacity buildup.