Cellphones Still Largest Driver of IC Sales, but Growth Stalls



The total production value of electronic systems is forecast to decrease 2% in 2015 to an estimated $1,423 billion, marking only the fourth time in history that the systems market registers a decline (previous years were 2001, 2002, and 2009).  Total electronic system sales are forecast to reach $1,614 billion in 2019, which represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.1% from $1,454 billion in 2014.  Figure 1 compares the relative market sizes and projected growth rates of nine major systems segments covered in IC Insights’ recently released 2016 edition of its IC Market Drivers report.  These nine market categories represented approximately 70% of the estimated total production value of all electronic systems in 2015.

Figure 1

Figure 1

Among individual end-use systems covered in detail in the 2016 IC Market Drivers report, cellphones expanded their lead over standard personal computers (desktops and notebooks) as the largest electronic systems market in 2015 after overtaking PCs for the first time in 2013.  Cellphones accounted for 18% of total electronics systems sales ($262.2 billion) versus about 13% for standard PCs ($187.4 billion) in 2015. Cellular phone sales are projected to rise by a CAGR of 2.9% in the 2014-2019 period, while standard PC revenues are expected to slump by an annual rate of -1.7%, partly due to longer upgrade cycles for standard PCs, the influx of tablet computers into the mix of computing platforms, and the growing use of smartphones to access the Internet.

The Internet of Things system market is forecast to show the highest average annual growth rate (21%) through 2019.  Aside from this one high-flying market, however, no other system category is forecast to average annual growth of more than 7%.  In fact, the standard PC, tablet, and game console system markets are forecast to decline through 2019.

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