Power Management Semiconductors Grow After a Rocky Q4 2011

May 28, 2012 by Jeff Shepard

The market for power management semiconductors grew for 7 quarters before declining grossly in Q4 2011, flattened in Q1 2012, and is now "on its way to discernible growth in Q2," reports HIS. Revenue for power management semiconductors will reach $8.0 billion in Q2, up 6.7% sequentially (see the figure), according to an IHS iSuppli Power Management Market Tracker report.

The rise in power management chips is driven primarily by expansion in consumer and industrial sectors. The trend toward higher revenues in power management semiconductors will continue in H2 2012, IHS predicts. Total power management semiconductor revenue for 2012 should reach $32.8 billion, up 2.8% from $31.9 billion in 2011. This does not approach the strong growth seen in 2009 and 2010, however.

Power management semiconductors are used in wide-ranging products: cellphones, computers, energy systems, to name a few, said Marijana Vukicevic, senior principal analyst for power management at IHS. Increased demand for power-sensitive portable electronics -- tablet PCs and smartphones, etc. -- will increase sales of power management semiconductors, which improve heat dissipation, weight and size of such products.

Q4 is a period of seasonal decline for power semis, but the scale of the Q4 2011 drop was "a serious indication of an especially depressed market for these semiconductors," IHS asserts. Consumer spending slowed, and subsidies and other government programs stopped. In addition, disruptions to manufacturing after the 3/11 Japan earthquake-tsunami disaster and floods in Thailand in October changed buying patterns.

Strong growth in consumer demand during Q2 and beyond will benefit power management device makers, as will improvements in industrial electronics and alternative energy (wind, solar and geothermal) control electronics.

Look for insulated gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) modules (industrial) and power management integrated circuits (consumer) to drive growth.

Projections for the next 5 years show overall positive growth for power management semiconductors, with revenue increasing by 6.6%. Thank media tablets like Apple Inc’s iPad for driving this trend, as well as digital set-top boxes, building and home control, enterprise voice networks, mobile handsets, mobile infrastructures, and network switches.

IGBT modules represent the main growth area for these sectors, followed by low-voltage and high-voltage metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors (LV and HV MOSFETs).