Apple and Samsung remained the world's largest buyers of semiconductor chips in 2013, but the intensifying battle between the two for the hearts and minds of consumers in their product offerings could presage another mighty showdown this year for the top ranking, according to a new report from IHS Technology.
"As in 2012, Apple and Samsung were the top semiconductor spenders in 2013 among original equipment manufacturers (OEM) making more than $1 billion in revenue," said Myson Robles-Bruce, senior analyst for semiconductor spend and design analysis at IHS. "Apple was in first place with chip spending in 2013 of $30.3 billion, outspending runner-up Samsung's $22.2 billion by more than $8 billion. However, the South Korean electronics titan attained the largest spending increase on chips of any Top 10 OEM last year, up almost 30 percent from 2012 levels, compared to a smaller expansion of 17 percent on the part of Apple."
Combined, the two claimed about 14 percent of total spending in 2013, well ahead of other prominent chip buyers. Rounding out the Top 5 are Hewlett-Packard in third place, with $10.1 billion in spending; Lenovo in fourth, with $9.2 billion; and Dell in fifth, with $7.7 billion. The rest of the Top 10 includes Cisco Systems, Sony, Huawei Technologies, Panasonic and Toshiba, as shown in the attached table.
All told, the served available market (SAM) for semiconductor spending reached $237.2 billion in 2013, up nearly 5 percent after spending dipped from $231.7 billion in 2011 to $226.7 billion in 2012.
The SAM metric counts only expenditures that an OEM made as an external agent, which gives a truer picture of the state of chip spending in the electronics industry. This is because SAM does not factor in spending by manufacturers for chip buying done at their own internal divisions-as can happen with entities like Samsung, whose internal customers within the vast Samsung family of companies compete with external clients in sourcing Samsung-made semiconductors.
The findings are contained in the report, "Wireless and Industrial Boost Semiconductor Spending," which tracks the semiconductor procurement of more than 200 electronics companies.