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Semicast: Consumer electronics to achieve steady growth

Posted: 14 Oct 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:MCU? DSP? imaging? monitoring?

The market for 32-/64bit MCUs, embedded microprocessors (eMPUs) and general purpose DSPs will show steady and on-going growth despite the current economic uncertainties particularly affecting confidence in the United States, Europe and Japan.

The findings came in a report from Semicast, which showed total revenues for these products are forecast to reach $8.6 billion in 2008, up from $8.1 billion in 2007, and to increase steadily in each year over the period until 2013 to $14.2 billion, a CAGR approaching 10 percent.

"The broad application base and reliance on stable, if unspectacular, markets such as industrial, medical, automotive and communications infrastructure looks set to make this one of the few bright spots in the IC industry in the difficult times ahead," said Colin Barnden, principal analyst and author, Semicast.

The report said consumer electronics is likely to experience a significant decline in 2009, as the full effects of the economic hurdles moving beyond Wall Street to take effect on Main Street and consumers adjust to a toxic mix of increased job uncertainty, sliding disposable incomes, rising loan rates and decreasing values in savings and pension plans.

No dramatic impact
Unlike other parts of the IC industry, Semicast said that consumer electronics and consumer sentiment has a relatively less direct effect on short-term growth prospects for 32-/64bit MCUs, eMPUs and DSPs.

Consumer electronics accounts for a relatively small part of demand for these products, with more secure industries such as automotive, industrial, medical and communications infrastructure accounting for the majority (about three-quarters) of revenues. These industries are less affected by the 'boom and bust' cycle, which is so prevalent in the semiconductor industry as a whole. As a result, revenues for 32-/64bit MCUs, eMPUs and DSPs are likely to hold up in the face of uncertainties until 2009.

With many industry executives no doubt still mindful of the semiconductor industry crash of 2001, when overall revenues fell over 30 percent compared with 2000 as the 'dotcom boom' ended so abruptly, Semicast summarized its judgment for prospects in some of the less glamorous, but more secure, applications for 2009 and 2010 and their growth prospects for suppliers of 32-/64bit MCUs, eMPUs and DSPs.

Medical electronics
Governments in many developed countries, and most notably in the United States, Japan and the EU, continue to have the long term social implications of a steadily aging population. This results in an ongoing government spending on national healthcare programs, particularly in areas like medical imaging and diagnostics or therapy and monitoring equipment, which is to be maintained in the short term. While national spending budgets may remain flat or fall, in the face of a worldwide recession, a national reduction in healthcare spending is seen unlikely in any of the major economies, owing to the high political cost along with such a plan of action. The medical sector can thus be seen as one of the safest long term growth markets for suppliers of ICs and the opportunities for growth for 32-/64bit MCUs, eMPUs and DSPs that should be investigated accordingly.

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