Preliminary results released by Gartner showed that global semiconductor revenue amounted to $419.7 billion in 2017, up 22% year-over-year.
The memory market, which accounted for 31% of the overall semiconductor revenue in 2017, realised revenue growth of 64% due to higher prices arising from undersupply. Samsung Electronics occupied the top position in the memory vendors list for 2017, followed by Intel, SK Hynix, Micron Technology and Qualcomm.
Andrew Norwood, research vice president at Gartner, said: "The largest memory supplier, Samsung Electronics, gained the most market share and took the No. 1 position from Intel — the first time Intel has been toppled since 1992. Memory accounted for more than two-thirds of all semiconductor revenue growth in 2017, and became the largest semiconductor category.”
Samsung Electronics outpaced Intel as the top memory vendor with revenue of $61.2bn, up from $40.1bn in 2016, compared to Intel’s 2017 revenue of $57.7bn (2016 revenue: $54.1bn). The third position is occupied by SK Hynix with revenue of $26.3bn, followed by Micron Technology and Qualcomm with revenue of $23.1bn and $17.1bn, respectively. In terms of market share, Samsung Electronics held 14.6% and Intel’s market share stood at 13.8%. SK Hynix, Micron Technology and Qualcomm’s market share stood at 6.3%, 5.5% and 4.1%, respectively.
Norwood added: “The current rankings may not last long, however, Samsung’s lead is literally built on sand, in the form of memory silicon. Memory pricing will weaken in 2018, initially for NAND flash and then DRAM in 2019 as China increases its memory production capacity. We then expect Samsung to lose a lot of the revenue gains it has made."