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Intel returns to the back of global semiconductors

By International Rectifier

The sales rankings of the world's top semiconductor manufacturers are updated again! There are some market research companies that regularly publish semiconductor companies' sales rankings and also investigate and forecast high-tech companies. However, this year (2019) these market research companies have clearly predicted that semiconductor companies' rankings and updates are still the first. Times.

As everyone in the semiconductor industry knows, the first company in sales last year (2018) was South Korea's Samsung Electronics, and the second was Intel in the US. There are three companies in the market research company that are responsible for publishing the annual sales rankings of semiconductor manufacturers, namely Gartner, IC Insights and I HS Markit. This spring, the top three companies announced last year were Samsung Electronics (hereinafter referred to as "Samsung"), and the second was Intel.

In the market research company that publishes semiconductor enterprise sales rankings, there is no doubt that Gartner has the highest impact and longest history. Gartner announced its estimated ranking in January and a confirmed ranking in April.

According to the rankings announced by Gartner, Intel maintained its TOP1 status for 25 consecutive years between 1999 and 2016. On the other hand, Samsung continued to maintain TOP2 for the 15 years from 2002 to 2016. In other words, TOP1 is Intel, and TOP2 is Samsung. This state lasted for 15 years.

The first place in TOP1 was taken away by Samsung in the previous year. Samsung won the first time in history, Intel fell to TOP2, and last year was such a ranking. From the determined ranking published by Gartner, Samsung has maintained TOP1 for two consecutive years, and Intel has maintained TOP2 for two consecutive years.

Gartner announced last year's sales rankings (determined value) on April 11 this year. At this time, there are predictions in the data released that due to the decline in storage semiconductor prices, Samsung is almost sure to take the first place in this year's corporate rankings. Sliding and giving the first place to Intel.

In the month before Gartner announced its ranking forecast, market research firm IC Insights announced its semiconductor company ranking on March 7, 2019. In the 2019 semiconductor sales ranking forecast, Intel and Samsung changed their positions, that is, Said: 2018 TOP1 is Samsung, Intel is TOP2; in 2019, Intel will win the first place, Samsung slipped to TOP2.

Gartner Announces Semiconductor Sales Rankings

(2002-2018: TOP1-TOP5's determined value, 2019 is the predicted value)

Sales rankings of semiconductor manufacturers from 2002 to 2019. Values ​​as of 2018 are aggregated by the authors based on market research firm Gartner's published values, which are predicted by Gartner on April 11, 2019. (Image by:

The semiconductor company sales rankings from 2016 to 2019 were announced by market research firm IC Insights on March 7, 2019. 2016-2018 is a performance, and 2019 is a forecast. (Image by:

Gartner's last year's (2018) semiconductor sales rankings, the left side is the forecast released on January 7, 2019, and the right side is the confirmed value announced on April 11, 2019. (Image by:


TOP1 of Q4 sales in 2018 has been captured by Intel

The main reason for promoting the replacement of semiconductor companies is the decline in the price of storage semiconductors. In particular, the price of DRAM has been falling since last fall, which has greatly reduced Samsung's sales.

DRAM and NAND flash memory occupy most of the market for storage semiconductors. In DRAM and NAND flash, the market for DRAM is relatively large. Three large-scale storage semiconductor manufacturers—Samsung, SK Hynix, and Micron Technology—have business in both DRAM and NAND flash, and DRAMs account for a large percentage of sales.

Since the beginning of last year, the price of NAND flash memory has shown a downward trend. By the end of last year, the price has accelerated down! However, the stable price of DRAM has been maintained in the summer of last year, and it can even be said that the price has risen, and it has fallen sharply from autumn to winter last year.

This effect is evident from the quarterly semiconductor sales rankings published by market research firm IHS Markit. Last year's Q1 (January to March) to Q3 (July to September), Samsung ranked first and TOP2 was Intel. However, in Q4 (October to December), the situation reversed, Intel ranked first, and TOP2 was Samsung.

At this value, it is noted that for Q4 sales, both Intel and Samsung are less than their respective Q3s, as mentioned in the article "Continuously Reversing the Semiconductor Market" in this column in March 2019, Q4 The economic downturn has affected the entire semiconductor market. Although the decline in storage semiconductors is extremely obvious, the market for processors and ASICs is also in a downturn.

Of course, Intel's decline is relatively small, while Samsung's decline is very large. Among the Q4 sales announced by IHS Markit, Intel's Q4 decreased by 2.3% compared with Q3, and Samsung's Q4 decreased by 24.9%.

The sales of Samsung Q4 actually decreased by 24.9% compared with Q3, which is a significant decline. This reduction is almost equivalent to the quarterly performance value announced by Samsung in January 2019 (the performance of three large storage semiconductor manufacturers has deteriorated sharply). According to the published data, sales of Q4 decreased by 24% compared with Q3, and sales of storage semiconductors, which accounted for 83% of total semiconductor sales, decreased by 26% year-on-year.

According to data released by Samsung, the average selling price of DRAM in Q4 is 7%-8% lower than Q3, and the number of DRAMs converted to storage capacity (Bit number) is reduced by 17%-19%. Simply using multiplication to calculate the sales amount is about 23%-25%. Although Samsung did not disclose the amount of DRAM sales, it is undeniable that the 24% decline has had a huge impact on overall semiconductor sales.

On the other hand, Intel's Q18 performance in 2018 is 2.6% lower than Q3. This reduction includes products other than semiconductors. Although it is not a comparison of semiconductor growth, it is down by 2.3% compared with IHS Markit. There is almost no difference.

IHS Markit's ranking of semiconductor sales for each quarter of 2018. This table is compiled by the author based on data published by IHS Markit. (Image by:

TOP10 in semiconductor sales for each quarter in 2018

(From: IHS Markit)

IHS Markit's semiconductor sales for each quarter of 2018 are ranked TOP10. This form is compiled by the author based on the information published by IHS Markit. (Image by:

Intel's sales are expected to exceed Samsung's 10% in 2019

Next we look at the predicted sales of Intel and Samsung in 2019. On April 25, 2019, Intel announced its Q1 (January to March) results. According to its forecast, the overall sales in 2019 was approximately US$69 billion (approximately RMB 469.2 billion). In 2017, it increased by 13% to US$70.8 billion (approximately RMB 418.44 billion). It is expected to decrease by 2.5% in 2019 compared to 2018. This is not a good sign.

Intel's sales are for products other than semiconductors. Therefore, we assume that semiconductor products account for Intel's overall sales. According to Gartner's forecast, Intel's sales in 2018 are about 66.29 billion US dollars (about 457.77 billion yuan). In simple calculation, semiconductor products account for about 93.6% of Intel's overall sales. This ratio is applied to 2019. For the sales forecast, it is estimated that the sales of semiconductor products in 2019 will be approximately 64.6 billion US dollars (about RMB 439.28 billion).

Next is Samsung. Samsung did not disclose the annual sales forecast for semiconductors. Regarding Samsung's semiconductor sales, from the data released by IC Insights on March 7, 2019, its sales growth ratio is negative 19.7%, which is minus 20%, and this ratio is applied to Gartner's 2018 semiconductor. In sales, Samsung’s sales in 2019 were approximately $59.91 billion (approximately RMB 406.65 billion).

Intel's semiconductor sales were 64.6 billion US dollars (about 439.28 billion yuan), Samsung's sales were 58.19 billion US dollars (about 4,000.65 billion yuan), it can be seen that in 2019 Intel will exceed Samsung by about 10%. However, in 2018 Samsung was 11% higher than Intel.

Intel and Samsung's semiconductor sales change table (2002-2019)

Note: 2002-2018 is the number published by Gartner, and 2019 is the author's prediction.

Amount unit: 1 million US dollars

Intel and Samsung's semiconductor sales change table (2002-2019), 2002-2018 is a summary of the author's data published by the crane company Gartner, the value of 2019 is the author's forecast (Intel decreased 2.5% year-on-year) , Samsung decreased by 20% year-on-year). (Image by:

Semiconductor sales ratio of Intel and Samsung (2002-2019)

Ratio = Intel/Samsung value

Note: 2002-2018 is the number published by Gartner, and 2019 is the author's prediction.

Semiconductor sales ratio of Intel and Samsung (2002-2019). The ratio is the value of Intel/Samsung. The values ​​from 2002 to 2018 are summarized by the author based on data published by Gartner. The value of 2019 is the author's prediction. (Image by:

What is the ranking after the TOP3 in 2019? Gartner's 2018 semiconductor sales, TOP2 Intel and TOP3 SK Hynix have a gap of about 30 billion US dollars (about 204 billion yuan), SK Hynix and TOP4 Micron Technology (hereinafter referred to as Sales of "Micron" are relatively close. In addition, there is a gap of about 13.5 billion US dollars (about 91.8 billion yuan) between TOP4 Micron and TOP5 Broadcom. Broadcom and TOP6's Qualcomm and TOP7's Texas Instruments formed a group with sales of approximately $15 billion (approximately $102 billion). In addition, there is a gap of about 5 billion US dollars (about 34 billion yuan) between TOP7 and TOP8.

In this way, TOP3's SK Hynix is ​​hard to threaten TOP1 and TOP2, and TOP5-TOP7's Broadcom, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments are also difficult to pose a threat to TOP4's Micron.

The TOP3 in 2019 will be SK Hynix, or Micron. The TOP5-TOP7 in 2019 should be the ranking of Broadcom, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments.

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