The memory market will fall a steep 24 percent in 2019, according to an updated semiconductor market forecast by IC Insights.
Samsung will be worst hit by the slump, the Arizona-based semiconductor market research specialist said in the report this week.
“With 83 percent of Samsung’s semiconductor sales being memory devices last year, the memory market downturn is expected to drag the company’s total semiconductor sales down by 20% this year”, IC Insights said.
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One immediate result: Intel will this year again become the world’s largest semiconductor supplier – despite relatively flat forecast sales in 2019 – a position it held for 25 years before being toppled by Samsung in 2018.
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With both the DRAM and NAND flash markets forecast to show big declines this year, IC Insights anticipates 20 percent-plus sales declines for the other top-10 ranked memory suppliers (SK Hynix, Micron, and Toshiba/Toshiba Memory) in 2019 as well.
As with Samsung, these steep sales declines are likely to lower company revenue back to, or even below, what they were in 2017, the research house said.
“This year will likely prove once again that the infamous volatile IC [integrated circuit] industry cycles are still very much alive and well in the memory market.”
IC concluded: “With the memory suppliers expected to encounter a very difficult year in 2019, large capital spending cutbacks from these producers are likely to drag down worldwide semiconductor industry capital spending by at least 14% this year.”
The World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) organisation, an industry non-profit, estimates the global semiconductor market to have been worth $468.8 billion in 2018, an all-time high. The WSTS last quarter predicted that the semiconductor market would, broadly, be down 3.0 percent in 2019, with “modest growth” to return in 2020.