Market for power semiconductors plunges in 2012; Infineon maintains leadership

Revenue in the power semiconductor market fell 16 percent in 2012 because of weak demand and reductions from suppliers as a result.


Global revenue in the power semiconductor business dropped by nearly 16 percent in 2012 as sluggish consumer demand, falling pricing and other factors conspired to undercut the market, according to a upcoming report from the Power Management and Analog IC Service at IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS).

Following healthy growth during the previous year, market revenue in 2012 for power semiconductor discretes and modules fell to slightly less than $15 billion, down from nearly $18 billion in 2011.

The module segment of the market contracted by 27 percent, a much steeper decrease than for discrete power semiconductors, which declined by about 12 percent.

“The drop in the power semiconductor market in 2012 was fueled by a deceleration in consumer spending in the United States and Europe, coupled with a slowdown in energy initiatives in Asia,” said Victoria Fodale, senior semiconductor market analyst for IHS. “Furthermore, weakness in the consumer, industrial, and automotive segments early in 2012 depressed pricing, helping set the stage for a weak year overall.”

Conditions were weak in the first quarter last year, as is the typical seasonal pattern. However, in addition to normally weak consumer sales, the first quarter also exhibited an uncharacteristic reduction in demand from the industrial and automotive markets.

The second quarter of 2012 failed to generate growth as demand for consumer products continued to drop in all regions of the world. The limited demand also had an influence on average selling prices, pressuring suppliers to make reductions.

Infineon powers up

Despite the market slowdown in 2012, Infineon remained the leading supplier of power semiconductor discretes and modules. The company held an 11.8 percent share of global market revenue, almost unchanged from 12 percent in 2011. Infineon led No. 2 player Toshiba Corp. by 4.7 percentage points.

“Infineon maintained its leadership in the total discrete market and in the discrete insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) segments,” Fodale said. “The company also continued to increase its share in the power metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) space.”

Toshiba attained the second strongest growth among the Top 10 players with growth of 0.6 percentage points.

No. 3 Mitsubishi Electric maintained leadership in power modules, although the company’s share of the market declined.

ON Semiconductor achieved a more than 1 percentage point increase in share in 2012, partially driven by its acquisition of Sanyo.

See other research posted by CFE Media.

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