Semiconductor sales rebound 24 percent in 2010

Demand for chips in smartphones, tablets, notebooks, and other gadgets helped propel revenues for the semiconductor industry to $282 billion last year, according to data from IDC.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

Sales of semiconductors staged a healthy recovery around the world last year thanks to strong demand from makers of smartphones, tablets, notebooks, e-readers, and other popular consumer devices, according to data out today from IDC.

For the year, chip sales rose by 14 percent to $282 billion, a rebound that was felt across all sectors and global regions of the market. Among the more than 100 semiconductor makers tracked by IDC, Intel was once again the top dog, bringing in total revenues of $41.9 billion last year.

Samsung took the No. 2 spot with sales of $27.6 billion, increasing its share of the semiconductor market by 2 percent from 2009. The other chip companies in the top five included Texas Instruments, Toshiba, and Korea-based Hynix Semiconductor. Overall, the top 10 vendors took home 51 percent of the total world market.

Experiencing a 30 percent jump in chip sales, the Asia/Pacific region captured 51 percent of the market, while growth in the Americas was also strong with 48 percent of the market. Looking ahead, IDC sees more consolidation in the industry due to takeovers, but lower sales growth as a result of global economic concerns, overcapacity, and the earthquake in Japan.

"We expect M&A (mergers and acquisitions) to be the key theme for 2011, as small- and medium-size companies become potential targets, with many more to come later this year," IDC research manager Mali Venkatesan said in a statement. "Based on the historical semiconductor revenue trends, projected overcapacity in foundries in late 2H11, and current macroeconomic problems (the earthquake in Japan, continued high unemployment in the U.S., high U.S. debt, and global inflation fears), we expect 2011 semiconductor revenue growth to be in the 6 to 8 percent range."