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© nikm dreamstime.com Business | May 06, 2013

Power transistor sales resume climb after 2012 setback

With the teetering economy now improving, power transistors are on track to reach record-high revenues in 2014, says new O-S-D Report from IC Insights.
After strong gains in 2010 and 2011, power transistor sales fell more than 8% in 2012 to $12.3 billion primarily due to weak economic growth and high levels of uncertainty, which caused equipment makers to rein in semiconductor purchases, according to IC Insights’ new 2013 O-S-D Report—A Market Analysis and Forecast for Optoelectronics, Sensors/Actuators, and Discretes.

The 2013 O-S-D Report shows worldwide market conditions steadily improving this year with power transistor sales increasing 7% to $13.2 billion, followed by an 8% rise in 2014 to a new all-time high of $14.3 billion, which will surpass the current annual record of $13.5 billion set in 2011.

Worldwide power transistor sales have declined three times in the last 10 years (-5% in 2005, -16% in 2009, -8% in 2012). After the 2009 semiconductor downturn, power transistor sales roared back, surging 44% in 2010 and increasing by another 12% in 2011.

In the recovery after the 2009 downturn, power transistors had exceeded sustainable growth rates, and with the global economy teetering again in 2012, worldwide sales volumes contracted, according to the new O-S-D Report. IC Insights is not forecasting another economic recession or semiconductor downturn in the next five years.

Despite last year’s setback, power transistor sales continue to dominate the overall discrete semiconductor market, which fell 7% in 2012 to $21.7 billion after growing 12% in 2011 to an all-time high of $23.4 billion. Power transistor products accounted for 57% of total discretes sales in 2012, and that share is projected to reach 61% in 2017.

Between 2012 and 2017, power transistor revenues are expected to increase by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 8.5% compared to a CAGR of 7.0% for total discrete semiconductors, based on the new O-S-D Report’s five-year forecast.

Higher demand for power transistors is being fueled by steady increases in battery-operated systems, automotive sales (including hybrid and all-electric vehicles), new solar- and wind-energy generators, smart-power grids, and global efforts to conserve electricity by steadily improving power supplies in all types of electronic systems.

Among the major power transistor product categories, low-voltage field-effect transistors (FETs, handling up to 40V) are forecast to show the strongest growth in the next five years with sales increasing by a CAGR of 9.7%, says IC Insights’ new report.

Insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) modules are next with sales increasing by a projected CAGR of 9.2%, followed by discrete IGBT transistors, which are forecast to grow by an annual rate of 8.8% in the 2012-2017 period. Sales of high-voltage FETs (over 400V) are projected to rise by a CAGR of 8.6% in the next five years, based on the new O-S-D Report’s forecast.

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