The semiconductor industry is slowly starting to recover after being hit hard by the global economic crisis, according to recent research by Gartner.
Figures from the analyst firm's Forecast: Semiconductor Capital Equipment Market Quarterly Growth Accelerates report suggest that worldwide semiconductor capital equipment spending will grow 47.3 per cent in the second half of 2009.
The figures will bring a sigh of relief to many chip makers around the globe, but the fight for survival is far from over. The market is projected to decline 47.9 per cent in 2009 owing to the steep declines in the first half of the year.
Gartner said in July that semiconductor sales had hit rock bottom, and that the industry would not see overall growth in revenues until at least 2012, a prediction that is holding true so far.
"Equipment purchases for the remainder of 2009 and the first half of 2010 will be mostly technology buys, as memory companies get ready for copper implementation and double patterning for critical geometries in the 5xnm and 4xnm generations," said Dean Freeman, research vice president at Gartner.
"Capacity will begin to ramp in the second half of 2010 as businesses and consumers begin to open up their pocket books to purchase electronic goods, and more consistent semiconductor growth should be occurring worldwide."
The findings suggest that all segments of the market will continue this upward trend throughout 2010, and that revenues from worldwide semiconductor capital equipment spending will rise by 34.3 per cent.
Worldwide wafer fab equipment spending is forecast to nearly halve across the whole of 2009, but Gartner expects spending in this segment next year to mimic the growth of capital spending.
Packaging and assembly equipment spending is expected to fare slightly better in 2009, decreasing by 43.1 per cent but regaining a lot of this ground to rise by 40.5 per cent in 2010.
Worldwide automated test equipment has suffered the least, according to Gartner, which predicts an overall decline of 36.5 per cent across 2009, and recovery in the second quarter of this year after substantial losses for several previous quarters. Growth is expected to continue over the next several quarters as device demand improves.
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