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Semiconductor spend ramps up on back of 'aggressive' investment

03 Aug 2017

Worldwide semiconductor spend is forecast to see strong increases over 2017 driven by aggressive investment in memory and leading-edge logic, which is driving spend in wafer-level equipment.

Gartner is forecasting spend to increase 10.2% this year - a significant ramp up from the previous quarter’s forecast of just 1.4%.

That increase will see spend hit US$77.7 billion this year – up from $70.6 billion in 2016 –  before dropping off over next the next two years.

Takashi Ogawa, Gartner research vice president, says “Spending momentum is more concentrated in 2017 mainly due to strong manufacturing demand in memory and leading-edge logic.”

Ogawa says the Nand flash shortage was more pronounced in the first quarter of 2017 than the previous forecast, leading to more than 20% growth of etch and chemical vapor deposition segments in 2017, with a strong capacity ramp-up for 3D Nand.

Gartner is now forecasting that the next cyclical down cyclein capital spending will emerge in 2018 to 2019, rather than the previous forecast of 2019 to 2020.

“Spending on wafer fab equipment will follow a similar cycle with a peak in 2018,” Ogawa says.

“While the most likely scenario will still keep positive growth in 8018, there is a concern that the growth will turn negative if the end user demand in key electronics applications is weaker than expected,” he says.

Gartner’s forecast puts 2018 spend at $77.4 billion, dropping to $71.8 billion in 2019 before rising back to $73.2 billion in 2020.

Wafer fab equipment, including wafer-level packaging, will see the greatest increase this year at 17.9% - up from 2016’s 11.4%, with other semiconductor spend up 1.8% this year – a decline in growth from last yea’s 6.8%.

Gartner is forecasting wafer fab equipment spend to hit $43.7 billion this year, with other semiconductor spend amounting to $34.1 billion.

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