Battered by Soft Consumer Spending, Power Management Chip Market Set to Decline
The market for power management semiconductors crucial to energy savings in a wide range of devices now is predicted to decline by 6 percent by year-end, due mostly to pronounced softness in the global consumer markets.
Revenue derived from the use of power management chips will amount to $29.9 billion by the end of 2012, down from $31.8 billion last year, according to IHS iSuppli. In comparison, the industry posted a small 1.5 percent increase last year, from revenue of $31.4 billion in 2010.
The previous IHS forecast for 2012, issued in September, called for slight 1.7 percent growth for the market.
"The decline this year comes on the heels of a general slowdown in consumer spending all over the World," said Marijana Vukicevic, senior principal analyst for power management at IHS. "Despite the popularity of devices like smartphones and tablets, the consumer markets as a whole remain soft, with specific segments -- like notebooks and other computer platforms -- registering perceptible slowdowns."
Also contributing to the overall decline this year of the power management space is a deceleration of energy initiatives in Asia. Government incentives encouraging improved-efficiency cooling systems for residential and commercial use have expired, but new replacement stimulus efforts never took place in 2012.
Rebound in 2013
The market is set to return to growth next year at a projected 7.6 percent
increase -- considered just average for power management semiconductors -- to
$32.2 billion, slightly above where the market was last year. A modest rate of
expansion ensues after that for the next three years, with industry revenue
reaching an estimated $38.7 billion by 2016.
The need for better power management in most present-day equipment will drive the industry moving forward. Key markets for power management semiconductors in the future will be mobile devices, communications, energy and public infrastructure improvements, and new construction. An especially potent market lies in alternative energy, especially in hybrid and electric vehicles, wind and solar energy, and grid upgrades for smart meters and similar devices. Medical electronics will also spur demand through diagnostics, monitoring and various human-aid products.
The market for power management semiconductors includes products related specifically to the conversion, distribution and management of power in electronic systems. Among these products are power management integrated circuits like voltage regulators and references, as well as power interface ICs and application-specific power management ICs. Other important power management products are power discretes, such as power transistors greater than 1 watt; rectifiers greater than 0.5 amperes; and thyristors.
The semiconductors are used in a wide range of industries, including energy generation and distribution, building and home control, military and civil aerospace, home audio system components, medical electronics and automotive applications. Some common devices that make use of power management chips are digital set-top boxes, liquid crystal display (LCD) and plasma televisions, mobile handsets, media tablets, game consoles, flat-panel monitors and PC servers.
The top power management devices over the long term will be insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) modules, which are used to enhance power efficiency and improve energy conservation in a range of industrial, consumer and automotive applications. The IGBT modules will find strong use in the markets for alternative energy, automotive and industrial devices.
Other power management semiconductors posting excellent growth prospects in the years ahead will be metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFET) that handle significant power levels, and linear regulators for maintaining steady voltage.