There’s been a lot of media coverage surrounding the ongoing global chip shortage, but that hasn’t stopped the world’s largest semiconductor companies from having a hugely successful year in 2021.
According to research by Gartner, global semiconductor revenues grew 26.3% year-over-year to $595 billion in 2021, led by Samsung and Intel.
“The events driving the current chip shortage continue to impact original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) around the world, but the rise of 5G smartphones and the combination of strong demand and higher logistics/commodity prices have driven up average selling prices (ASP) for semiconductors, contributing to significant revenue growth in 2021,” said Andrew Norwood of Gartner.
It may come as a surprise that the shortages had only a small impact on overall revenue, but Gartner says automotive and industrial markets have seen a revival after their pandemic lows, boosting overall demand.
The automotive industry, in particular, had an outstanding year, growing 34.9% and outperforming all other industries. Wireless communications, essential for smartphones, increased by 24.6%.
The number of 5G smartphones produced reached 556 million in 2021, up from 251 million in 2020, as the iPhone 13, Samsung Galaxy S22 and other devices drive demand.
Memory, led by DRAM, accounted for 27.9% of semiconductor sales during the year, generating $41.3 billion in revenue.
Samsung and Intel in the lead
In terms of individual company performance, the semiconductor market was dominated by two household names: Samsung and Intel.
Samsung generated a staggering $73.1 billion in revenue in 2021 from sales of semiconductors and related products, up 28% from $57 billion in 2020, for market share by 12.3%.
Intel was hot on its heels, recording revenue of $72.5 billion, down 0.3% from $72.8 billion in 2020, for a 12.2% market share. The two traded first and second place.
Next is SK Hynix with $36 billion, up 40.6% year-on-year, for a 6.1% share; Micron with 28.6%, up 31.4% year-on-year, for a market share of 4.8%; Qualcomm with $27 billion, up 53.4% year-on-year, for a 4.6% share; Broadcom with $18.7 billion, up 19.3% year-on-year, for a 3.2% share.
Texas Instruments ($17 billion), Nvidia ($16.8 billion) and AMD ($16.3 billion) complete the list, all with a share of around 3%.
Gartner noted that perhaps the most incredible change in fortunes was that of Huawei’s HiSilicon, whose sales fell 81% from $8.2 billion to $1.5 billion as a direct result. US sanctions.