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IMS: MHA semiconductor market will be worth $2B in 2012

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:home appliances? power management IC? energy efficiency?

IMS Research has forecasted that the market for semiconductors in major home appliances (MHAs) will be worth more than $2 billion in 2012, up from $1.5 billion in 2010.

According to the report, these semiconductors will be those that have a whole host of functions that include the following: (1) controlling operation of the motor in an appliance; (2) sensing various operational parameters; (3) driving touch-control devices; (4) storing menus, languages and safety subsystems; (5) maybe even someday communicating with the electricity grid; and (6) managing power. IMS said that power management ICs will account for most of the revenues.

The growth in the market will be driven by two factors. The first factor will be the increasing global unit shipments of MHAs. Another factor is the increased electronic content in the appliances. Increased shipments of appliances are largely driven by the growing economies of China, India and Latin America. Over the next five years, IMS Research forecasts unit shipments of global appliances to grow modestly at 4C6 percent CAGR. This is in contrast with the revenues from their semiconductor content, which are seen to grow at double that rate.

According to analyst Liz Cruz, "the second and more direct factor creating demand for semiconductors in appliances is the increased use of electronics in them, itself driven by several factors." The focus on energy efficiency in appliances has led to increased use of inverter-based variable-speed drives in them; and to improved power management. Specifically, the trend toward variable-speed motor control increases the demand for IGBT modules, which accounted for the most power semiconductor revenues in MHAs in 2010.

During the global recession, MHA makers began to focus on bringing design in-house and differentiating themselves from the competition through unique features. Two popular ways to achieve differentiation are through increased use of electronic controls and displays and through new safety features and programs (which require greater memory storage); these need more advanced microcontrollers. Cruz comments that "while the market is currently dominated by 8bit microcontrollers, IMS Research sees substantial growth for 16bit and 32bit types in most appliance categories."

IMS Research predicts that the market will reach nearly $3 billion in 2015, or almost double the revenues in 2010.

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