IHS estimates that wireless chip spending reached $58.6 billion in 2011, an increase of 14.5 percent from $51.2 billion in 2010. Spending for computer chips climbed from $51.8 billion in 2010 to $53.7 billion in 2011. By 2013, wireless chip revenues will be at $72.9 billion while computer semiconductors are expected to nearly stagnate and land at $54.0 billion.
“Among the 10 segments tracked for semiconductor spending, the biggest market share, 24 percent, belonged to the wireless market, spurred by prodigious mobile handset and tablet sales exemplified by the runaway success of Apple’s popular offerings,” said Wenlie Ye, analyst for semiconductor design and spend at IHS. “Wireless will continue to generate the most growth during the next two years. A substantial portion of the segment’s increase will be due to rising tablet sales, although mobile handsets like smartphones will continue to account for the lion’s share of semiconductor segment in the wireless area.”
Due to the success of the iPhone and iPad, Apple is spending more on semiconductors than any other company. IHS said that Apple purchased about $4.6 billion in chips in 2011.
“The market for desktops and notebooks has stumbled in the shadow of smartphones and tablets, whose portability and computer-like features have usurped the position of the once-mighty PCs,” Ye said. Samsung was a distant second after Apple with $603.2 million, followed by HTC with $199.2 million. Total semiconductor spending among the industry’s major OEMs for all application markets in 2011 reached $240.6 billion, up approximately 5 percent from $230.1 billion in 2010, IHS said.