Power IC Sector Stood Out in an Overall Declining Power Semiconductor Market in 2015


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The power IC (integrated circuit) sector proved to be the only power semiconductor product type to grow in 2015, according to a new forecast report from IHS Markit.

According to the Power Semiconductor Forecast Report, 2016 Edition, while power discretes and modules products both declined about 10% in 2015 compared to 2014, the power semiconductor sector significantly under-performed in comparison to the overall semiconductor market.

Power discrete products are forecast to grow at a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 3% from 2015 to 2020, the report says. Power module products are expected to grow at 5%; power IC products by about 2.8% – all in the same forecast period.

Even though revenues of the power IC sector outperformed their discrete and modules counterparts last year, for several reason, discrete and modules products could outgrow power IC revenues from 2015 to 2020, the report says. IHS Markit examined the revenue forecast by major product segment and concluded that there are excellent opportunities for growth with the correct strategy.

In the discrete segment, semiconductor suppliers would be best served to pay attention to a few focus areas. New material technologies in power semiconductors -- such as SiC and GaN -- are forecast to have CAGRs greater than 20% during the forecast period of 2015 to 2020. Also, super junction MOSFET technology is forecast to continue to outperform the overall MOSFET segment, with a CAGR of 12% from 2015 to 2020.

Turning to power module products, these include standard IGBT modules, power integrated modules (PIM) and intelligent power modules (IPM). The power modules sector as a whole is forecast to grow at CAGRs greater than 4.5%, with some geographical markets such as China and the rest of Asia growing at CAGRs greater than 7% during 2015 to 2020, the report says.

Finally, while power IC exhibited strong growth in 2014 and 2015 with the help of the growing smartphone and tablet markets, the overall power ICs sector is forecast to wrap up 2016 with total revenues comparable to 2015. IHS Markit forecasts that the overall CAGR for power ICs from 2015 to 2020 will be positive at 2.6% -- a slower CAGR compared to previous years due to the sluggish data processing and consumer market.

Within the power IC market, products such as low drop-out (LDO) regulators, switching converter, power-over-Ethernet, hot swap controllers, and multiple channel PMICs products, are forecast to grow faster than the overall power IC segment, with CAGRs greater than 6% from 2015 to 2020.

 In 2015, IHS Markit estimates the power ICs sector to have accounted for 56% of the global power semiconductor revenue. Power discretes made up the next 33%, and power modules contributed the last 11%. The total power semiconductor market size is roughly $34 billion USD in 2015 and forecast to reach $40 billion USD in 2020.

Several end markets and applications are forecast to help the growth of all power semiconductor components. These segments include automotive infotainment, connectivity, electric vehicle motor, industrial motor drive, green energy and consumer applications.

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