After six months of decline the power management chip market looks to rebound in Q2

After a tough six months the market for power management semiconductors is thought to have recovered in the second quarter due to strong demand from electronic products including smartphones and media tablets. According to a preliminary estimate from IHS iSuppli, the global revenue for power management semiconductors is forecast to have reached $7.9 billion in the second quarter, up 9.7 percent from $7.2 billion in the first quarter. The positive performance for the period stands in marked contrast to the 10.7 percent decrease seen in the fourth quarter of last year and the 4.0 percent contraction in revenue that followed in the first quarter of 2012.

“While lack of demand was to blame for the dismal performance during the fourth and first quarters, a pickup in the market for power management chips in consumer-type products is believed to have returned the market to growth in the second quarter,” said Marijana Vukicevic, senior principal analyst for power management at IHS. “The products responsible for fuelling growth include mobile handsets, media tablets, personal computers and other consumer electronic items, such as digital still cameras. In these devices, efficient power management is becoming more important to consumers, a significant feature given that electronic devices are almost never shut off or powered down anymore.”

The encouraging revenue results estimate for the second quarter will help to reverse some of the inventory build-up accumulating in the channel for the last three quarters, when consumer spending had slowed down amid prevailing economic uncertainties. Continued growth is expected for the remaining two quarters of the year as the markets head to their busy selling season. Overall 2012 power management revenue is forecast to reach $32.4 billion.

While this year will end with a very modest projected pickup of 1.7 percent after nearly flat growth in 2010, the years ahead will see a boost in the power management space. Consumer markets are expected to regain some rigor starting in 2013, while growth will continue uninterrupted in the industrial and alternative energy sectors traditionally home to a strong power management revenue base.

The largest expansion over the next five years, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) until 2016 of nearly 30 percent, is expected to come from the use of power management semiconductors in media tablets such as the iPad from Apple Inc. Other important market-boosting devices include mobile handsets, with an 11.7 percent CAGR during the same five-year period; mobile infrastructure, with 13.1 percent; and digital set-top boxes, with 12.3 percent.

Insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBT) modules are the main growth device within the power management semiconductor space, thanks to their use in alternative energy applications in the automotive and industrial segments. The biggest opportunities here will be found in the markets governing safety and control for vehicles, with a 13.1 percent CAGR; home and building control, with 12.2 percent; and energy generation, with 13.3 percent.

Low-voltage metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFET) will also be another power management device with strong growth prospects, resulting from its use in appliances, media tablets and mobile infrastructure.

Application markets for power management components are led by DC-DC non-isolated usage, with the inverter space for energy savings and alternative power sources standing out as the highest growth application sector.

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