SCOTTSDALE, USA: With personal computer shipments regaining strength and expected to grow 18 percent in 2010 to 351 million systems, sales of integrated circuits used in PCs will surge 34 percent this year and reach a record-high $81.4 billion compared to $60.7 billion in 2009, according to IC Insights' new 2011 edition of its IC Market Drivers report.
The new report shows worldwide PC unit shipments rising 12 percent in 2011 to 394 million units with personal computer ICs sales expected to increase 10 percent to $89.2 billion next year as demand for portable systems continues to fuel market growth.
The strong recovery growth in PCs will snap a three-year losing streak for personal computer IC sales (see Fig.). The PC IC market fell 9 percent and 6 percent in 2008 and 2009, respectively, primarily due to weak computer unit growth in the economic recession.
PC shipments grew less than 5 percent in 2009, following an anemic 8 percent increase in 2008. While personal computer shipments grew more than 12 percent in 2007, PC IC dollar volumes dropped 5 percent that year because of price erosion in DRAMs and microprocessors.Fig. 1; Source: IC Insights, USA.
Despite three previous years of decline, PCs are still the largest end-use application for integrated circuits, accounting for about 31 percent of the IC industry's total revenues in 2010, according to the new report, which also covers automotive electronics, cellphones, wireless networks, digital TV, portable consumer products, and a dozen emerging systems markets for semiconductors.
Between 2009-2014, the PC IC market is expected to increase at a CAGR of 10.8 percent, reaching $101.2 billion in the final year of the forecast period.
PC integrated circuit sales have benefitted from the strong growth in portable computers, which tend to use higher priced ICs than desktop systems because of the need for lower-power operation and battery-management issues.
The sales gap between desktop PCs and portable computers is widening at an accelerated pace. Portable PCs overtook desktop shipments for the first time in 2009 (157 million versus 140 million, respectively). Unit sales of portable PCs--including standard notebook computers, mini-notebooks ("netbooks" as Intel calls them), and new tablet systems, such as Apple's iPad--are expected to grow 27 percent in 2010, reaching about 200 million units worldwide. In 2010, desktop PC shipments will grow 8 percent to 151 million, says the report.
In 2011, portable PC shipments are expected to climb 21 percent to 242 million units while desktop systems are forecast to rise just 1 percent to 152 million.
Within the portable PC segment, the new IC Market Drivers report shows standard notebook computer shipments growing 20 percent to 155 million systems in 2010, while the sale of mini-notebooks cooled off this year with unit volumes expected to rise just 19 percent to 31 million systems.
Inexpensive Internet-centric mini-notebooks were the darling of the portable PC market in 2008 and 2009, with annual unit shipments increasing by about 185 percent in each of those two years, but the fascination with downsized notebooks ended in 2010 after Apple introduced its touch-screen iPad and transformed the tablet-computer niche into a sensation in the larger consumer-PC marketplace.
IC Insights now sees tablet computer shipments reaching 14 million in 2010, up from a little over 1 million in 2009 (excluding dedicated e-book readers, such as Amazon.com's Kindle).
IC Insights' new report shows tablet computer shipments growing 129 percent in 2011 to 32 million, and reaching 86 million in 2014. The increase represents a CAGR of 131 percent between 2009 and 2014.
In contrast, mini-notebooks are projected to grow at a CAGR of less than 7 percent in the five-year forecast to 36 million systems in 2014, and standard notebook PCs are expected to rise at a CAGR of 14 percent to 253 million.
Meanwhile, desktop PCs (including systems used as servers) are forecast to increase at a CAGR of just 2 percent in the 2009-2014 period, reaching 155 systems in the final forecast year of the new IC Market Drivers report.