The worldwide semiconductor market performed better than expected in 2020, the International Data Corporation (IDC) said in its Semiconductor Applications Forecaster report. IDC said that the worldwide semiconductor market grew by 5.4 percent year-on-year to a total of $442 billion in 2020. The report also said that the market is expected to grow even further to reach $476 billion in 2021 - a 7.7 percent year-on-year growth as the world is expected to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The IDC report said that the Dynamic random access memory (DRAM) and NAND semiconductor markets also saw recovery after a poor 2019, growing 4 percent and 32.9 percent respectively. In its report, IDC said that the emergence of COVID-19 and subsequent measures taken to manage infection rates, including stay-at-home mandates, remote work, remote education, travel restrictions, and manufacturing shutdowns, created significant business volatility that impacted industries unevenly.
The market for semiconductors in computing systems, such as PCs and servers, outpaced the overall semiconductor market, growing 10.9 oercent year over year to $152 billion in 2020. IDC forecasts computing systems revenues will grow 6.3 percent to $161 billion in 2021.
Further, smartphones were the second largest driver for the 2020 growth, according to the IDC report. This was driven by the growth in 5G smartphones. IDC forecasts mobile phone semiconductor revenues will grow by 11.4 percent in 2021 to $128 billion.
The IDC report also said that due to the decline in automotive sales in 2020, the automotive semiconductor revenue fell 8.4 percent in 2020 to $37 billion. "An automotive recovery in 2021 depends on the rate of vaccination and how well the vaccinations defend against the new variants of COVID-19 that are emerging around the world,” said Nina Turner, research manager for Automotive Semiconductors at IDC.