Automotive Industry Drives Chip Demand
IC Insights compared the six most significant end-user markets for integrated circuits. These are the computer, consumer, communications, automotive, industrial/medical, and government/defense markets. During the time frame, until 2018, the IC demand from automotive customers is expected to exhibit the strongest average annual growth — 10.8% on average. This is significantly higher than the communications industry, at second place with 6.8%.
The computer market, once the IC growth driver per se, apparently is approaching saturation status. With 3.3% CAGR, it shows the lowest growth of all segments (albeit certainly at a very high sales level). In contrast, automotive chip demand is still growing from a smaller base. While a high semiconductor content in earlier years was associated to the luxury class, higher quantities of chips are installed now in vehicles of all categories.
Demand drivers include safety features that increasingly are becoming mandatory, such as backup cameras or eCall. But driver-assistance systems are also becoming ubiquitous. Future drivers will include connectivity, such as vehicle-to-vehicle communications, as well as sensors and controllers necessary for various degrees of autonomous driving.