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For 2019, a steep 24% drop in the memory market is forecast to pull the total semiconductor market down by 7%. With 83% of Samsung’s semiconductor sales being memory devices last year, the memory market downturn is expected to drag the company’s total semiconductor sales down by 20% this year. Although Intel’s semiconductor sales are forecast to be relatively flat in 2019, the company is poised to regain the top semiconductor supplier ranking this year, a position it held from 1993 through 2016.
With both the DRAM and NAND flash markets forecast to show big declines this year, IC Insights expects greater than 20% sales declines for the other top-10 ranked memory suppliers (SK Hynix, Micron, and Toshiba/Toshiba Memory) in 2019 as well. Similar to Samsung, the steep sales declines expected for SK Hynix, Micron, and Toshiba in 2019 are likely to lower these companies’ revenue back to, or even below, what they were in 2017. This year will likely prove once again that the infamous volatile IC industry cycles are still very much alive and well in the memory market.
The March Update will also examine the latest capital spending budgets of the major semiconductor companies for this year. With the memory suppliers expected to encounter a very difficult year in 2019, large capital spending cutbacks from these producers are likely to drag down worldwide semiconductor industry capital spending by at least 14% this year.