Power Electronics

Power Transistor Sales Will Approach $9 billion in 2007

According to data gathered by IC Insights (www.icinsights.com), sales of power transistors should reach record levels next year as requirements for low-voltage operation, extended battery life, and energy efficiency drive transistor demand. The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based marketing research firm found that price erosion and a sharp slowdown in unit growth caused power transistor sales to fall 4.6% in 2005 to $7.7 billion following record high sales of $8.1 billion in 2004. However, IC Insights calls this slump temporary and forecasts that global sales of power transistors will increase by about 3% this year and nearly 9% next year for record revenue of $8.7 billion in 2007.

These market forecasts for power transistors, which include power MOSFETs, IGBTs, and bipolar transistors, are documented in IC Insights’ 200-page 2006 Optoelectronics, Sensor/Actuator, and Discrete (O-S-D) Report.

Since the early 1990s, power transistor applications have steadily expanded in automotive electronics, personal computers, cell phones, industrial equipment, home appliances, consumer electronics, and many battery-operated portable products. From 1990 to 2010, the power transistor market is expected to increase at a cumulative average growth rate (CAGR) of 8% per year to $10.5 billion in 2010, based on IC Insights' forecast. During this 21-year time span, the entire discrete semiconductor market will increase at a CAGR of 5%, according to the recently issued O-S-D Report.

Power transistors accounted for about half of the $15.7 billion discrete semiconductor market in 2005. By 2010, power transistors are forecast to represent about 54% of the projected $19.6 billion in discrete semiconductor sales, says the O-S-D Report. This document provides full analysis of optoelectronics, sensor/actuator devices, and discretes based on industry-standard definitions set by the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) organization.

In the discrete semiconductor market, both power field-effect transistors (mostly power MOSFETs) and insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs) are fueling growth. Despite trends toward semiconductor integration on chip, the number of discrete power devices is increasing in many systems applications because of a growing need to conserve, control, and condition electricity as it’s taken from ac outlets and batteries. Consequently, more power MOSFETs are needed in desktop PCs, notebook computers, cell phones, portable systems, and consumer products to enable microprocessors and other ICs to run at top speeds but at low supply voltages.

Low-voltage power MOSFET revenues are expected to increase at a CAGR of 6% between 2005 and 2010 to reach $4.3 billion in 2010, predicts the O-S-D Report. High-voltage power MOSFETs (above 200 V) are forecast to increase at a CAGR of more than 9% to $1.7 billion in 2010.

According to Rob Lineback, senior market research analyst at IC Insights, shipments of power FETs (including low- and high-voltage MOSFETs), will increase from 20.2 billion in 2005 to 54.9 billion in 2010. That represents a CAGR of 22%. Lineback comments, “It's worth noting that revenue CAGR will increase at a rate of just 7% in that same period as ASPs will fall at a 12% annual average rate during the next five years due to pricing competition.”

Over the next five years, unit sales of power FET modules will also be rising. Lineback notes that these modules will grow from 109 million units in 2005 to 327 million in 2010 (a CAGR of 25%). In terms of revenue, power FET module sales will go from $108 million in 2005 to $184 million in 2010.

Meanwhile, IGBTs are forecast to be the fastest growing power transistor group in the 2005 to 2010 period. “We're predicting that the IGBT transistor sales will reach $600 million in 2010 (a CAGR of 12% between 2005 and 2010) and IGBT modules will be $1.8 billion in 2010 (an 11% CAGR in the forecast period),” says Lineback. IGBTs posted sales of $1.4 billion for transistor and module products combined in 2005, according to IC Insights, which forecasts a 14% increase in total IGBT sales to $1.6 billion in 2006.

Lineback projects that unit shipments of IGBT transistors will increase from 487 million in 2005 to 1.2 billion in 2010, which represents a 20% CAGR between 2005 and 2010. Meanwhile, he expects IGBT module sales to rise from 83 million in 2005 to 192 million in 2010, which corresponds to an 18% CAGR.

Revenue projections for bipolar transistors are not so rosy. Lineback reports that bipolar power transistor revenue will decline from nearly $1.1 billion in 2005 to $892 million in 2010 (a CAGR of -3% in the forecast period). Units shipments, however, will continue to grow from 8.4 billion in 2005 to 11.8 billion in 2010 (a CAGR of 7%), according to the IC Insights forecast.

The report is available for $1,990 in either a three-ring binder or CD-ROM format. Additional individual copies of the CD-ROM or binder sell for $495 each. The report is also available under a multi-user corporate license for $5,290. Special discount rates for the O-S-D Report are available to current subscribers to IC Insights' McClean Report, which provides an in-depth analysis of the IC portion of the semiconductor industry.

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