The growing 5G smartphone market helped global semiconductor revenue surge by 25.1 percent in 2021, and cross the $500 billion mark for the first time, said a report released on January 31 by the US-based technology research giant Gartner.
The worldwide semiconductor revenue last year came in at $585.5 billion, according to the preliminary results released by Gartner.
“The 5G smartphone market also helped drive semiconductor revenue, with unit production more than doubling to reach 555 million in 2021, compared to 250 million in 2020," the report said.
According to Gartner Vice President Andrew Norwood, a robust demand, along with the increase in logistics cost led to an overall jump in revenue.
“As the global economy bounced back in 2021, shortages appeared throughout the semiconductor supply chain, particularly in the automotive industry,” Norwood said.
“The resulting combination of strong demand as well as logistics and raw material price increases drove semiconductors’ average selling price higher (ASP), contributing to overall revenue growth in 2021," he added.
Among semiconductor vendors, Samsung Electronics, with a 31.6 percent growth, emerged as the company drawing the highest revenue in 2021. It was the first time in the last three years that it displaced Intel for the top spot.
The company's memory revenue grew 34.2 percent last year, in line with the growth rate of the overall memory market. Intel dropped to the second position with 0.5 percent growth in 2021, delivering the lowest growth rate among the top 25 vendors.
The sanctions imposed by the US on Huawei resulted in other Chinese smartphone OEMs gaining share and fueling growth for 5G chipset vendors such as Qualcomm, MediaTek and Skyworks, the report pointed out.
Meanwhile, HiSilicon, Huawei’s chip subsidiary, saw revenue decline from $8.2 billion in 2020 to around $1 billion in 2021.Top 10 semiconductor vendors by revenue (millions of US dollars)
|2021 Rank||2020 Rank||Vendor||2021 Revenue||2021 Market Share (%)||2020 Revenue|
|Others (outside top 10)||257,544||44.1||209,557|
"Memory was again the best-performing device category, primarily due to increased server deployments by hyperscale cloud providers to satisfy remote working, learning and entertainment needs, as well as a surge in end-market demand for PCs and ultramobiles. Revenue increased $42.1 billion over 2020, which amounted to 33.8% of overall semiconductor revenue growth in 2021," Gartner said.Within memory, DRAM had the best performance with revenue growth of 40.4% in 2021, increasing revenue to $92.5 billion in 2021. Strong demand from servers and PCs created a DRAM undersupply that drove double-digit ASPs through most of the year, the report added.