The more conservative estimate is largely based on effects caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, but it is not as dramatic as initially predicted.
"The disaster in Japan clearly had an impact on the semiconductor market, and supply chain behavior, but it is less than initially feared," said Peter Middleton, principal research analyst at Gartner. "In response, in the last two weeks of March, vendors stepped up efforts to secure supply in the face of uncertainty and potential shortfalls — leading to some double ordering which continued into the second quarter. We think vendors were cautious with their second quarter guidance, and we expect the majority will exceed those estimates."
Gartner now forecasts $315 billion of chip sales for the year. The reduction of predicted sales reflects third quarter "friction" and "residual effects" from the events in Japan. "However, once third-quarter trends are established and supply chain participants are satisfied that all issues are understood and production is normalized, we expect an effort to draw down inventory, which will weaken the semiconductor market in late 2011 and early 2012," Middleton said.
Further down the road, Gartner expects smartphone and tablets to drive semiconductor growth. Through 2013, two thirds of the growth will be fueled by the ultra-mobile segment, the firm said.