4Q'12 Global Growth by Electronics Sector

Custer Consulting Group measures global and regional electronic supply chain growth in multiple ways including creating composite sales, net income and inventory values based upon key companies quarterly financial reports. Here are VERY PRELIMINARY 4Q'12 results:

  • Electronic equipment sales had zero growth in 4Q'12 versus 4Q'11 (Chart 1) however this current business cycles' downturn appears to have "bottomed" in the third quarter of 2012 (Chart 2).
  • Inventories relative to sales declined in 4Q'12 throughout the supply chain. This is normal for the last quarter of each year (Chart 3).
  • Preliminary 4Q'12 versus 4Q'11 sector growth is given in Chart 4. These growth rates will be updated as more companies report their 4Q'12 financial results.
  • SEMI equipment sales declined 10% in the last quarter of 2012 versus the same quarter in 2011 (Chart 5). However both the SEMI equipment and semiconductor chip business cycles appear to be past their 3/12 low points in this current downturn (Chart 6). Chips are growing already (3/12 >1) and SEMI equipment looks to cross the growth line by about mid-2013.
  • Large EMS companies grew 4% in the fourth quarter if you include Foxconn (Chart 7). Without Foxconn's hefty sales increase the other major EMS companies saw a 7.5% 4Q'12 decline (Chart 8). The ODM companies (including Foxconn) grew 2% in 4Q'12 (Chart 9).

Let us caution that these results are still very preliminary estimates and based upon incomplete 4Q'12 financial data. We will update these charts regularly as more companies report their fourth quarter results.

Source: Company financial reports with Custer Consulting Group analysis

European PCB Update

Our colleague in Germany Michael Gasch just provided us with an update on the European printed circuit board market and PCB business conditions.

  • Chart 10 provides Michael's estimate of European PCB production by year by country for 2000 to 2012. European PCB output dropped 10.4% from 2011 to 2012.
  • Chart 11 summarizes Michael's current view of European PCB business conditions and Chart 12 gives his estimate of 2012 PCB production by country.

Michael Gasch, Data4PCB

Japan Update

JEITA just released its November electronic equipment, device and component data.

  • Domestically produced Japanese electronic equipment production declined 9% in November 2012 vs. November 2011 (Chart 13).
  • The 3/12 growth of semiconductor shipments to Japan and also Japan-produced electronic equipment production are both well below the 3/12=1 growth line. However they appear to be near their cyclical lows (Chart 14).
  • PCB shipments continue to decline (Chart 15) and their 3/12 "growth" continues to deteriorate (Chart 16).
  • Component and device growth rates are improving (Chart 17).


German Business Confidence Increases for Third Straight Month

German business confidence rose in January. The Ifo institute's business climate index, based on a survey of 7,000 executives, climbed to 104.2 from 102.4 in December. That was the highest since June and the third straight gain.

Source: www.cesifo-group.de/

Worldwide Mobile Phone Shipments Grew 1.9% Year-to-Year to 482.5 Million Units in 4Q'12 (Charts 18-23)

Strong Demand for Smartphones and Heated Vendor Competition Characterize the Worldwide Mobile Phone Market at the End of 2012, IDC Says

The worldwide mobile phone market grew 1.9% year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2012 (4Q'12), as strong holiday smartphone sales raised shipments of these devices to levels nearly equal to those of feature phones. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), vendors shipped a total of 482.5 million mobile phones in 4Q'12 compared to 473.4 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011. For the full year, the global market for mobile phones was essentially flat, declining 0.2% on shipments of more than 1.7 billion units.

In the worldwide smartphone market, vendors shipped 219.4 million units in 4Q12, which represents 45.5% of all mobile phone shipments, the highest percentage ever. The 36.4% year-over-year growth was slightly below IDC's forecast of 39.5% for the quarter. On an annual basis, 545.2 million smartphones were shipped globally in 2012, which was 10.1% more than in 2011.

"The high-growth smartphone market, though dominated by Samsung and Apple, still presents ample opportunities for challengers," said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. "Vendors with unique market advantages, such as lower-cost devices, can rapidly gain market share, especially in emerging markets. A good example is Huawei, which overtook LG as a Top 5 vendor in the overall mobile phone market and passed HTC to become a Top 5 smartphone vendor."

"The fact that Huawei and ZTE now find themselves among the Top 5 smartphone vendors marks a significant shift for the global market," noted Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC's Mobile Phone team. "Both companies have grown volumes by focusing on the mass market, but in recent quarters they have turned their attention toward higher-end devices. In addition, both companies have pushed the envelope in terms of industrial design with larger displays and smaller form factors, as well as innovative applications and experiences."

Source: www.idc.com

North America Semiconductor Equipment Industry December Book-to-Bill Ratio 0.92 (Charts 24-25)

North America-based manufacturers of semiconductor equipment posted $924.1 million in orders worldwide in December 2012 (3-month average basis) and a book-to-bill ratio of 0.92, according to SEMI.

The 3-month average of worldwide bookings in December 2012 was $924.1 million, 28.6% higher than the revised November 2012 level of $718.6 million, and 16.2% lower than the December 2011's orders of $1.10 billion.

The 3-month average of worldwide billings in December 2012 was $1.01 billion. The billings figure is 10.6% higher than the revised November 2012 level of $910.1 million, and is 22.6% less than the December 2011 billings level of $1.30 billion.

"Both bookings and billings increased in December, but remain below figures reported one year ago," said Denny McGuirk, president and CEO of SEMI. "While uncertainty remains regarding the 2013 equipment outlook, the foundry and advanced packaging segments are the key investment drivers at the beginning of the year."

Source: www.semi.org

Worldwide SSD Shipments to Rise to 83 million Units in 2013, up from 39 Million in 2012 (Chart 26)

A new generation of lower-cost and more appealing ultrabooks is expected to help cause global shipments of solid-state drives (SSDs) to more than double in 2013, according to an IHS iSuppli.

Worldwide SSD shipments are set to rise to 83 million units this year, up from 39 million in 2012, as presented in the figure below. Shipments are set to continue to rise 239 million units in 2016, amounting to about 40% of the size of the hard disk drive (HDD) market.

"The fate of the SSD business is closely tied to the market for Ultrabooks and other ultrathin PCs that use cache drives," said Ryan Chien, analyst for memory and storage at IHS. "While SSD shipments rose by 124% last year, growth actually fell short of expectations because ultrabook sales faltered due to poor marketing, high prices and a lack of appealing features. However, if sales of the new generation of ultrabooks take off this year as expected, the SSD market is set for robust growth."

Source: www.iSuppli.com

Samsung Passed Apple as the Top Global Semiconductor Customer in 2012 (Chart 27)

Samsung and Apple Together Consumed 15% of Total Semiconductor Demand in 2012. Samsung Electronics and Apple both dominated semiconductor demand in 2012, although Samsung overtook Apple as the top worldwide semiconductor customer, according to Gartner, Inc. Based on analysis of the design total available market (TAM), Samsung and Apple together consumed $45.3 billion of semiconductors in 2012, an increase of $7.9 billion from 2011, to represent 15% of total semiconductor demand, while the total semiconductor market decreased by 3% overall.

"Although Samsung and Apple continue to go from strength to strength, other leading electronic equipment makers fared less well, and six of the top 10 reduced their demand in 2012," said Masatsune Yamaji, principal research analyst at Gartner. "In addition to a weak macroeconomic situation, a dramatic change in consumer demand contributed to a reduction in semiconductor demand in 2012. The PC market still represented the largest sector for chip demand, but desktop and mobile PCs did not sell well, as consumers' interest shifted to new mobile computing devices like smartphones and media tablets. This shift caused a substantial decrease in semiconductor demand in 2012, as the semiconductor content of a smartphone or a media tablet is far less than that of a PC."

The top 10 companies demanded $106.4 billion of semiconductors in 2012, to account for 36% of total semiconductor vendors' worldwide revenue of $297.6 billion. Of the top 10 companies, Nokia's semiconductor demand contracted most.

"While the growth of new mobile computing devices, notably smartphones and media tablets, has not fully compensated for the drop in the semiconductor demand from the PC market, the data center and communications infrastructure market will keep driving semiconductor demand.

The limited computing and storage resources of new mobile computing devices will be compensated for by cloud computing services with light application software," said Mr. Yamaji.

"Price competition between smartphone and media tablet vendors was severe in 2012, as hardware differentiation was very difficult to achieve," said Mr. Yamaji. "Innovations in device hardware will soon be copied by competitors, as semiconductor vendors will soon provide commercial SoC (system-on-chip), software and reference designs to hardware vendors needing to catch up with innovative market leaders. Semiconductor vendors must aid, or at least monitor, the hardware innovations of the market leaders."

Design TAM represents the total silicon content in all products designed by a certain electronic equipment manufacturer or in a certain region. Design TAM is a useful index for semiconductor vendors when they are considering how to allocate their sales or field application engineer resources by customer or region.

Source: www.gartner.com

Top 12 Chip Foundry Ranking for 2012

Chart 28 provides a list of the twelve largest chip foundries ranked by sales in 2012.

Source: www.icinsights.com

Walt D. Custer

Walt Custer

Walt Custer is an industry analyst focused on the global electronics industry. Prior to forming Custer Consulting Group he was Vice President of Marketing and Sales for Morton Electronic Materials, a global supplier of specialty chemicals and process equipment for the PCB industry.

Custer has been a member of the IPC trade organization since 1975 where he received both the President's and the Raymond E. Pritchard Hall of Fame Awards. He is currently a member of the IPC Executive Market & Technology Steering Committee. Custer is also a Director of the EIPC European PCB trade organization.

He authors regular “Market Outlook” columns for Global SMT & Packaging magazine, the Journal of the HKPCA and the TTI MarketEYE website.

View other posts from Walt D. Custer. View other posts from Walt D. Custer.
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