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Power Management Chip Demand Weakens

While the power management semiconductor market will decline in 2012, strong growth will return in 2013 and continue through at least 2016.
The power management (PM) semiconductor market will decline 6 percent to $29.9 billion in 2012 from $31.8 billion last year due to softness in the consumer market, according to researcher and analytics provider IHS. The researcher had previously forecast that the power management chip market would grow 1.7 percent in 2012.

“The decline this year comes on the heels of a general slowdown in consumer spending all over the world,” said Marijana Vukicevic, senior principal analyst for power management at IHS. She added that despite the popularity of devices like smart phones and tablets, the consumer market as a whole remains soft.

Also contributing to the decline in demand for PM chips is a deceleration of energy initiatives in Asia. Government incentives encouraging improved-efficiency cooling systems for residential and commercial use have expired, IHS reported.

The good news is the PM chip market will return to growth next year as revenue will rise 7.6 percent to $32.2 billion. Growth will continue through 2016 when the power management semiconductor market will total $38.7 billion, according to IHS.

The need for improved power management in electronics equipment will drive the industry moving forward. Key markets for power management semiconductors are mobile devices, communications, energy and public infrastructure improvements, and new construction.

Alternative energy, including wind and solar energy and grid upgrades for smart meters, is a potential big market driver for power management semiconductors. Hybrid and electric vehicles and medical electronics will also spur PM chip demand, according to IHS.

Power management semiconductors include voltage regulators and references, power interface ICs application-specific power management ICs, and power discretes, among others.

The top power management devices in the long term will be insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) modules. They are used to enhance power efficiency and improve energy conservation in a range of industrial, consumer and automotive applications. The modules will find strong use in the markets for alternative energy, automotive, and industrial devices.

Other power management semiconductors that have growth potential are metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFET) that handle significant power levels, and linear regulators for maintaining steady voltage.

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