The global power semiconductor market is set for a steep decline in 2020 as demand for these components plunges from the key markets of smartphones and automotive electronics due to the coronavirus crisis.
Omdia now forecasts that the overall power semiconductor market will undergo a 6.9 percent decline in 2020, with revenue falling to $43.1 billion in 2020, down from $46.3 billion in 2019. The power semiconductor market consists of three segments: power integrated circuits (ICs), power discretes and power modules.
Discrete and module market revenue will decline by 10.6 percent in 2020, according to the Interim Power Discrete and Module Market Tracker published this month. The previous forecast, issued in March, anticipated that the market would be flat in 2020, with a negligible 0.1 percent decline.
Furthermore, the Omdia projects power IC revenue in 2020 will decline 3.9 percent from 2019, a rare case of a two-year slip in that market. This current forecast puts the Power IC revenue for 2020 at $23.4 billion, wiping out most of the market gains since 2016.
In terms of revenue, the largest consumer of power ICs is the wireless market, a segment that includes mobile handsets. Before the coronavirus outbreak, Omdia was forecasting a 3.4 percent rise in wireless market revenue due to increasing sales of smartphones. However, as the impact of the coronavirus has come into sharper focus, Omdia has cuts its forecast and now expects a 9.6 percent decline in wireless revenue.
“Supply chain interruptions, store closures, stay-at-home orders, job losses and potential new model delays have combined to crater the wireless market,” said Kevin Anderson, senior analyst, power semiconductors, at Omdia. “This is partially due to a decline in mobile handset shipments. But mobile handset makers are also offering more mid-range products that have a lower content of power-IC devices.”
Another hard-hit segment is the automotive market, where vehicle sales have been plummeting due to shuttered dealerships and vehicle production line stoppages. Motor vehicle sales are likely to drop by a double-digit margin in 2020. On the other hand, rising electronic content in some automotive systems—such as advanced driver assist and vehicle electrification—will moderate the power IC revenue declines to only 6 percent.
Discrete market falls
Taking a closer look at the power discrete and module market outlook, discrete power semiconductor revenue will fall by 10.7 percent this year, while power semiconductor modules will drop by 10.3 percent. Overall, the power discrete and module market will shed $2.4 billion in revenue compared to 2019.
Looking at discrete power semiconductors in detail, the 2020 revenue decline is expected to come mainly from standard MOSFET power transistors. MOSFET revenues are expected to decrease by around $1.4 billion in 2020, down 16.5 percent year-on-year, before recovering somewhat in 2021. However, MOSFET revenues will not return to 2018 levels until after 2024.
Bipolar power transistor revenues are forecast to decrease by around $170 million in 2020, down by 15 percent year-on-year, and IGBT power transistor revenues are anticipated to fall by around $110 million in 2020, down 6.8 percent year-on-year. In contrast to discrete power transistors, rectifiers and thyristors will limit their declines to less than 1 percent in 2020.
“Most of the decreases for power discretes come from the computing and data-storage segment, where the trend is moving from away discrete point-of-load and toward more integrated solutions,” said Richard Eden, senior principal analyst, power semiconductors, at Omdia. “This, along with equipment unit declines in some personal computing devices, is causing the forecast in that segment to shrink dramatically, falling by 48.1 percent and losing more than a billion dollars in revenues from 2019 to 2020.”
Power module market revenue drops on IGBT weakness
Looking at power modules in detail, the 2020 revenue decline is expected to come mainly from standard IGBT power modules and IGBT-IPMs. Standard IGBT power module revenues are expected to decrease by around $300 million in 2020, down by 11.1 percent year-on-year. IGBT-IPM revenues are forecast to decrease by around $270 million in 2020, down by 15.6 percent year-on-year, and MOSFET module revenues are anticipated to decrease by around $33 million in 2020, down by 11.9 percent year-on-year. In contrast to discrete power semiconductors, power modules will not mount a major revenue recovery in 2021. Instead, Omdia predicts the market will continue to decline, a phenomenon that will continue in 2022 and 2023, before recovering in 2024.
Computing segment provides a ray of hope
“Unlike power discretes, the computing and data-storage segment is the bright spot in the power IC market,” said Kevin Anderson, senior research analyst for Omdia. “The stay-at-home, work-from-home, learn-from-home environment is driving increases in demand for data center equipment, notebook PCs and accessories such as external monitors and web cams.”
Omdia is forecasting overall growth of 2.6 percent in 2020 for power IC usage in this segment.
Market rebound expected
Omdia is expecting a robust recovery for power semiconductors in 2021 based on strong demand for vehicles, as pent-up demand is unleashed after two years of dismal vehicle sales. We also anticipate that consumers will want to spend again on televisions, mobile device upgrades and other consumer goods once they are back to work. This recovery scenario is dependent on a gradual easing of restrictions in the developed world by mid-year, a manageable reoccurrence of the virus as we move into the next cold and flu season, and a successful vaccine rollout within 12 months.