An almost 8 percent growth in revenue worldwide was fueled significantly by the huge success of DRAM vendors during the year. DRAM vendors outperformed the rest of the semiconductor industry, which increased once again from 2013 numbers. The trend is an indicator of a broader need for memory, fueled in part by higher performance expectations of consumers and the rapidly growing Internet of Things which requires more efficiency all around in order to function as expected. This puts semiconductor makers in a unique and exciting position where demand for memory improvements as well as overall sensor and micro -component demand are increasing.
PC Growth Returns
One factor was the return of the PC sector. Declines over the past couple of years have been heralded as the first wave of diminished sales and interest of PCs over time, but last year the industry reported growth once again. Smartphones and tablets took a chunk out of the PC market, but despite continuing to be popular in 2014, the PC sector managed to do well also.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Naturally, the consolidation of some of the biggest and most successful names in the industry fueled profit reporting. Average Technologies acquired LSI and for the first time was ranked in the top 25 vendors of semiconductors. MediaTek merged with MStar Semiconductor eventually, despite the slow process and doubts that the deal would go through. And ON Semiconductor was successful in their bid to buy Aptina Imaging.
Intel was pleased to show growth once again and Micron Technology as well as SKHynix had the strongest growth. They reside in the top ten semiconductor vendors list and the reasons are clear with the 2014 numbers in. Micron grew by a whopping 41% in 2014. Both vendors can attribute their growth to DRAM sales.
The last time DRAM sales set a record was in 1995, as the memory market was formed and transformed into a consumer market. In 2014, we’ve finally seen that number beaten, which demonstrates not only how far we’ve come, but also how far memory has come in the past 10 years. DRAM demand is putting semiconductor manufacturers and vendors in a good position for the coming year.
With any new technology, it’s normal to see a boom, such as the one we’ve seen in the tablet and smartphone markets. As the market is saturated, we begin to see a slowdown. Fortunately, the need for microcomponents and memory continue to grow.