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August 13, 2013

 

Tablet and Cellphone Processors Offset PC MPU Weakness

Total microprocessor sales are forecast to rise 8% in 2013 and reach $61.0 billion.

Worldwide microprocessor sales are on pace to reach a record-high $61.0 billion in 2013 mostly due to strong demand for tablet computers and cellphones that connect to the Internet, but the ongoing slump in standard personal computers-including notebook PCs-is once again dragging down overall MPU growth this year.  Total microprocessor sales are now expected to increase 8% in 2013 after rising just 2% in 2012, according to a new forecast in IC Insights' Mid-Year Update of The McClean Report 2013.

IC Insights’ mid-year forecast trims the marketshare of x86 microprocessors primarily sold by Intel and rival Advanced Micro Devices for PCs and servers to 56% of total MPU sales in 2013 compared to the previous estimate of 58%.  Figure 1 shows embedded microprocessors are now expected to account for 11% of MPU sales in 2013 (versus 9% previously), while tablet processors are projected to be 6% of the total (compared to 5% in the original January forecast).  The new forecast keeps cellphone application processors at 26% of total MPU sales in 2013 but lowers the marketshare of non-x86 central processing units (CPUs) in computers outside of tablets to 1% (from 2% previously).

The proliferation of multimedia cellphones and the surge in popularity of touch-screen tablet computers are fueling strong double-digit growth rates of MPU sales and unit shipments in these two systems categories.  The vast majority of these systems are built with mobile processors based on 32-bit CPU architectures licensed from ARM in the U.K. Many MPU suppliers serve smartphone and tablet applications with the same processor platform design.   The falloff in standard PC shipments is a major problem for Intel and AMD since they have supplied more than 95% of the x86-based MPUs used in personal computers since the 1980s.

The new mid-year forecast raises tablet processor sales in 2013 to nearly $3.5 billion, which is a 54% increase from $2.3 billion in 2012.  Cellphone application processor sales are now expected to grow 30% in 2013 to $16.1 billion from $12.4 billion in 2012.  At the start of this year, sales of mobile processors in tablet computers and cellphones were forecast to grow 50% and 28%, respectively.  Stronger unit shipment growth in mobile processors has lifted the revenue forecast in these MPU market segments.

Figure 1

Meanwhile, the larger market segment of MPUs used in PCs, servers, and embedded-microprocessor applications continues to contract, albeit at a slower rate than in 2012.  The mid-year forecast shows sales of MPUs in PCs, servers, large computers, and embedded applications slipping by 1% to $41.4 billion in 2013 from $41.9 billion in 2012, when revenues dropped 6%.  This large MPU market segment was previously forecast to rebound with sales increasing 5%, but the anticipated bounce back has been blocked by weak shipments of standard PCs, which IC Insights believes will fall by 5% in 2013 to 327 million systems.

While the mid-year outlook lowers total MPU revenues in 2013, it slightly increases the growth in microprocessor unit shipments to 10% this year from a projection of 9% in the January forecast.  Total MPU shipments are now expected to reach 2.15 billion devices in 2013, with tablet processors growing 62% to 190 million units and cellphone application processors increasing 11% to 1.50 billion this year.  IC Insights’ microprocessor category does not include cellular radio-frequency baseband processors or stand-alone graphics processing units (GPUs), which are counted in the special-purpose logic/MPR category of the IC market.

Report Details:  The 2013 McClean Report

Data in this research bulletin was excerpted from the Mid-Year Update to IC Insights’ flagship report, The McClean Report—A Complete Analysis and Forecast of the Integrated Circuit Industry.  The 250+ page Mid-Year Update includes more than 200 updated charts and figures along with IC Insights’ most current semiconductor and IC market growth forecasts.  A subscription to The McClean Report includes free monthly updates from March through November (including the 250+ page Mid-Year Update), and free access to subscriber-only webinars throughout the year.  An individual-user subscription to the 2013 edition of The McClean Report is priced at $3,390 and includes an Internet access password.  A multi-user worldwide corporate license is available for $6,390.

Thursday, September 12, 2013 — IC Insights’ Fall Forecast Seminar

Mark your calendars and plan now to attend IC Insights' Fall Forecast Seminar that will be held in Sunnyvale, California on Thursday, September 12, 2013, from 9:00AM to 12:00PM.  IC Insights’ president Bill McClean will explain and discuss the assumptions behind IC Insights’ recently updated semiconductor forecast for the balance of 2013 and beyond.  This dynamic and informative half-day seminar will help you make well-informed decisions as you formulate your near-term and long-range business plans. Current IC Insights clients can attend for $295. Pricing for others is $395.  Register now by visiting http://www.icinsights.com/events/fall-forecast-seminar/


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