Worldwide semiconductor revenue increased 1.8 percent in 2011 to US$306.8 billion, up $5.4 billion compared to 2010, according to research published by Gartner on Tuesday.
The growth was mainly driven by the microprocessor market, which was up 14.2 percent year over year, propelled by strong average selling prices, Gartner analysts said. This increase in demand was in turn driven by both PCs and servers, and the PC market benefited strongly from the integration of graphics. This led to a market recovery in 2011 from a relative underperformance in 2010, the analysts said.
Intel dominated the semiconductor market for the 20th consecutive year with revenue of $50.7 billion, up 20.7 percent. The company's 16.5 percent market share was an all-time high, Gartner said.
Samsung Electronics took second place with revenue growth of 1 percent and market share amounting to 8.9 percent. Toshiba, the third-largest producer of semiconductors, reached market share of 3.8 percent, while its revenue shrank 4.8 percent. Samsung's revenue was $27.4 billion and Toshiba's was $11.8 billion in 2011, Gartner reported. Samsung suffered from a weak DRAM market, which was the main reason it was not able to close the gap with Intel, analysts noted.
Qualcomm's revenue, the sixth-place company on the list, grew the fastest at 38.8 percent, for nearly $10 billion in revenue last year, according to Gartner's figures. The chip producer reached a market share of 3.3 percent. Analysts said this was mainly due to the rapidly growing smartphone market.
Qualcomm's 2011 revenue contained three quarters of Atheros' revenue, a chip maker that was acquired for $3.1 billion in the first half of 2011.
Broadcom was one other noteworthy company, according to the analysts. The chip maker came in 10th on the 2011 list and outperformed the overall semiconductor market as the mobile and wireless division experienced double-digit growth. The company's' revenue grew 8.4 percent to $7.2 billion in 2011, with 2.3 percent market share.
Revenue for the top 25 semiconductor vendors grew 3.1 percent more than overall industry revenue, mainly due to a busy year for mergers and acquisitions.
Loek covers all things tech for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org