Mark LaPedus /EETimes
(01/14/2008 1:30 AM EST)
HALF MOON BAY, Calif. — The IC forecast
sweepstakes have officially begun at the Industry Strategy Symposium
(ISS), as various market researchers will tout their latest and
greatest predictions here this week.
As usual, the forecasters will agree--and disagree--about the
outlook for 2008. And there is good and bad news for the industry:
The IC market is projected to go up in 2008 after a relatively flat
2007, but capital spending is expected to decline by 10 percent or
more this year. The IC forecasts are all over the map in 2008,
ranging from 6.2 percent to 12 percent growth this year, according
to the market research houses that are expected to present their
findings at ISS here this week.
A question remains: Who will be right in 2008--and who will be
wrong? Or does it really matter? In any case, here are the IC
forecasts from various research houses right now:
Semico Research--12 percent
IC Insights--10 percent
VLSI Research--7.5 percent
Now, the bad news: Don't look for a banner year for equipment.
Here are the capital spending forecasts this year:
IC Insights--minus 10 percent
iSuppli--minus 10.6 percent
Gartner--minus 13.2 percent
The most bullish IC forecast comes from Semico Research Corp.
After a "correction year" in 2007, 2008 looks like an "expanding
market" for semiconductors, said Jim Feldhan, president of Semico,
in a sneak preview of his ISS presentation.
"2008 inventories [are] under control," Feldhan said. "Low
inventories will contribute to stabilizing ASPs."
In the presentation, he listed several drivers for the year,
including an upgrade cycle for PCs, the shift towards digital
broadcasting in the U.S. and continued design activity around the
Bill McClean, president of IC Insights, sees chip ASPs falling a
mere 1 percent in 2008, verses a whopping 6 percent in 2007.
McClean also forecasts that the IC market will grow 10 percent in
2008 over 2007. In 2007, the IC market grew 5 percent, according to
IC Insights. IC unit shipments are expected to jump 12 percent in
2008, verses 11 percent in 2007, he said.
For ICs and the economy in general, IC Insights lists several
factors to watch in 2008: the U.S. presidential election, Olympics
in China, Vista and the shift to the digital TV standard in the
VLSI Research Inc. and iSuppli Corp. each see 7.5 percent growth
for ICs in 2008 over 2007. In 2008, Dale Ford, an analyst with
iSuppli, sees 0.2 percent growth in DRAMs, 9.8 percent growth in
processors, 7.4 percent in analog and 18.9 percent growth in flash.
In 2007, the DRAM market fell 3.9 percent, processors grew 1.9
percent, analog jumped 4.7 percent and flash went up 5.1 percent, he
On the capital spending side of the equation, the picture is
poor. Fab-tool makers see a down year, but not to the extent of the
horrific downturn in 2001.
IC Insights projects that capital spending will hit $50.6
billion, down 10 percent over 2007.iSuppli reached a similar
conclusion. Capital spending is projected to fall 10.6 percent in
2008, according to iSuppli.
Overall capital spending is projected to hit $59.1 billion in
2007, up 4.9 percent over 2006, according to Gartner. Capital
spending is projected to go into negative territory and fall by 13.2
percent to $51.3 billion in 2008, according to the research firm.
Worldwide semiconductor capital equipment spending is forecast to
total $44.8 billion in 2007, a 6.8 percent increase from 2006. The
market is expected to hit $40.3 billion in 2008, down 9.9 percent.
VLSI Research predicts that the IC-equipment market will hit
$61.9 billion in 2008, down 2.8 percent from 2007.