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March 14, 2008

Discretes Finally Reach Full Recovery from 2001 Downturn

Power transistors growth will push discretes sales to new record in 2008

Seven years after the semiconductor industry suffered its worst recession ever, discrete semiconductors are finally on the verge of becoming the last major semiconductor market category to fully recover from the 2001 downturn, according to IC Insights’ new 2008 Optoelectronics, Sensors, and Discretes (O-S-D) Report, which becomes available in March.

Thanks to steady growth in power transistors and the proliferation of electronics in general, discrete product revenues are now forecast to grow 7% in 2008 and reach a new record-high of $18.0 billion after falling $114 million short of the previous annual sales peak set in 2000. IC Insights’ new O-S-D Report shows the discretes market (including diodes, small-signal transistors, rectifiers, thyristors, and power transistors) increasing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6% per year between 2007 and 2012, reaching $23.0 billion in five years. Discrete product sales have grown at a CAGR of 6% since the 1980s.

The newly revised O-S-D Report also shows optoelectronics semiconductor sales rising 10% in 2008 to a record-high $17.6 billion after slipping 2% in 2007 due to price erosion in several key product categories and a rare 7% decline in image sensor sales last year. The sensor/actuator market category is also forecast to rebound from a 4% decline in 2007 and grow 15% to a record-high $5.9 billion in 2008, thanks primarily to a recovery in actuator devices and pressure sensors, according to the new report. About 80% of sensor/actuator revenues come from devices made with micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) technology.

After the 2001 downturn, optoelectronics, solid-state sensors, and all IC product categories (with the exception of DRAMs) began reaching new record-high revenue levels by 2004, but it has taken the discretes marketplace seven years to completely regain lost ground. In terms of unit-volume shipments, however, the discretes segment has been setting a new record high each year since 2004, but lower average selling prices (ASPs) have delayed a full-market recovery until 2008. About 386 billion discrete semiconductors are expected to ship to systems manufacturers worldwide in 2008, which will represent an 8% increase from 2007, according to the 2008 O-S-D Report.

IC Insights’ new report shows power transistor sales growing 9% in 2008 to $9.4 billion from $8.6 billion in 2007. About 51% of total discretes sales were generated from power transistors in 2007 (Figure 1). New applications in battery-powered systems and concerns about energy conservation continue to fuel steady growth in power transistors. By 2012, power transistor sales are expected to account for 58% of the $23.0 billion discretes market, according to IC Insights’ new report, which provides a detailed forecast of sales, unit shipments, and ASPs for more than three dozen different product categories in optoelectronics, sensors/actuators, and discretes.

Figure 1

Report Details

The 2008 edition of the O-S-D Report extends IC Insights’ coverage of the semiconductor industry with detailed analysis of trends and growth rates in the optoelectronics, sensors/actuators, and discretes market segments. The 2008 report is available for $2,190 in either a three-ring binder or CD-ROM format. Additional individual copies of the CD-ROM or binder sell for $495 each. The report is also available under a multi-user corporate license for $5,490.

For more information, please visit www.icinsights.com/prodsrvs/osdreport/.

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About IC Insights

IC Insights, Inc., based in Scottsdale, Arizona, is dedicated to providing high-quality, cost-effective market research for the semiconductor industry. Founded in 1997, IC Insights offers coverage of global economic trends, semiconductor market forecasts, capital spending and fab capacity trends, product market details, and technology trends, as well as complete IC company profiles and evaluations of end-use applications driving demand for ICs.

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