Semiconductor manufacturers should be wary of a predicted 113.2% increase in capital equipment spending in 2010, as growth will slow dramatically again in 2011, according to Gartner.
The research firm predicts spending will top $35.4 billion (€29.3 billion) in 2010, as demand for 40-nanometer (nm) and 45 nm silicon drives recovery from a sluggish 2009, when spending was just $16.6 billion.
“Investment at the 3x node by Intel, an increase in spending by NAND memory producers, and the transition to the next generation DDR3 DRAM memory are the key investment growth drivers,” says Klaus Rinnen, managing vice president at Gartner.
Spending on silicon for automated test equipment will grow 133.1% to $2.6 billion in 2010, its first year of growth since 2006, but the increase is again made to look more impressive by a poor 2009, when sales fell 53% year-on-year to $1.1 billion.
Gartner forecasts overall spending growth will fall to 6.6% in 2011, “as spending responds to slower growth in the semiconductor markets," Rinnen said.
While the slowdown in 2011 would help eliminate the previous ‘boom and bust’ approach of the semiconductor industry, Rinnen cautions that “a more severe and premature down cycle could occur in 2013,” if capacities continue to expand unabated.