Semiconductors in the first 2014 semester


The positive turning point is about to come for the most important among electronic components, after a bad 2013.





Semiconductors, the most important among electronic components with an incidence by about two thirds on the world total, lived a not very brilliant 2013, with a global growth by only 4.8%. In the Emea area (Europe, Middle East and Africa), the rise versus 2012 was by 5.2%.

These are relatively modest figures for a sector that, even in the darkest hours, always manages to stay afloat. Only China had continued its upwards race, with a 30.7% rise, while in quite surprising manner Americas had registered +13.1%. The Asia-Pacific area itself, which alone today represents 58% of the world consumption, had grown by 7.0% while in the fourth area, Japan, they scored a dramatic -15.3% downturn.

The first 2014 semester seems instead to live a positive turning point. On a world scale, the consumption of semiconductors grew by 11.1% on the corresponding 2013 period, while in Emea the 10.2% rise occurred. Americas confirmed the favourable trend of the previous year and also Japan seems to have overcome the long crisis, with the 4.4% development. Finally, Asia Pacific has recovered normal growth rates, with 11.6%; on the contrary, with a certain general astonishment, the Chinese locomotive seems to slow down its race, until now unstoppable, with the 24.5% increase. It is always a relevant percentage, the highest in the world; it is however inferior to the 30.7% in 2013.

China represents alone 27% of the world consumption and the trend of its market influences all other Countries’ clearly. Some recurrent news report that the Chinese industry is affected by the competition of the “New paper tigers”: Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam. The result of this new “commercial war” is uncertain.

In terms of typology, memories (including Drams), followed by discrete, logic and optoelectronic semiconductors, had the strongest development while the most dynamic application sectors nowadays presently seem communications, wired or wireless, and consumer electronics. Just this segment, which in the classification of Wsts includes white goods, seems oriented towards an imminent and longed for recovery, at least in Americas and Far East. At present, the driving products are anyway smartphones and tablets, while also the personal computer segment, after a settling period, shows clear signs of recovery.

Among “new” sectors, in other words scarcely relevant for semiconductors, transports and sanitary appliances are looking out of the limelight. Both are steeply rising and they might create new outlets for electronic components.



The official forecasts for 2014, reported in the table, were formulated during the six-month meeting of Wsts. The comparisons among them and the effective variations of the first semester of the year leads to a clear remark: both as total and considering the single geographical areas, things went better than what expected.

On a world scale, the growth is almost the double of what envisaged, in Americas the quadruple, while also in Emea and in Asia Pacific forecasts are neatly exceeded. The recovery of Japan finally amazes experts: in this case, too, pessimism was neatly denied.

In the light of these positive results, official forecasts for the end of 2014 will be positively revised.





6 months 2013 6 months 2014 % variation6 months 2014 versus 6 months /2013 % variationJune/May 2014 Expected variations 2014\2013 year
Europa (EMEA)  17.0 18.8       10.2   1.9    7.9
Americas  27.5 31.3       13.9   4.9    2.1
Asia-Pacific  84.0 93.8       11.6   10.5    9.3
Of which China   34.7 43.3        24.5    13.7   18.0
Japan    16.6  17.3         4.4      8.5   -1.3
World  145.1 161.2        11.1    10.8      6.5
Europe Billion Euros     13.0   13.7          5.5      6.8 n.a.

Sources : ESIA (European Semiconductors Industry Association), WSTS (World Semiconductors Trade Statistics)

EMEA = Europa, Middle East, Africa.