Samsung was top chip vendor in 2021, says ‘Goldilocks’ Gartner
Gartner’s market growth estimate is in-line and exactly half-way between those of WSTS (25.6 percent) and IC Insights (24.6 percent). Gartner’s estimate of the absolute value of the chip market also lies exactly half-way between those of WSTS ($553 billion) and IC Insights ($614 billion).
“As the global economy bounced back in 2021, shortages appeared throughout the semiconductor supply chain, particularly in the automotive industry,” said Andrew Norwood, research vice president at Gartner, in a statement. “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.”
Top 10 semiconductor vendors by global revenue in 2021 (Millions of US dollars). Source: Gartner Inc.
The 5G smartphone market also helped drive semiconductor revenue, with production more than doubling to reach 555 million units in 2021, compared to 250 million in 2020, Gartner said.
US sanctions imposed on Huawei resulted in other Chinese OEMs gaining smartphone market share and this fuelled growth for 5G chipset vendors such as Qualcomm, MediaTek and Skyworks. Meanwhile HiSilicon, Huawei’s chip subsidiary, saw revenue decline from $8.2 billion in 2020 to around $1 billion in 2021, Gartner estimates.
Samsung Electronics regained the top spot from Intel for the first time since 2018, with revenue increasing 31.6 percent in 2021. Samsung’s memory revenue grew 34.2 percent in 2021, in line with the growth rate of the overall memory market. Intel dropped to the No. 2 position with 0.5 percent growth in 2021, delivering the lowest growth rate among the top 25 vendors.
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 percent of overall semiconductor revenue growth in 2021.
Within memory, DRAM had the best performance with revenue growth of 40.4 percent 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.
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