Samsung Electronics regained the top spot from Intel for the first time since 2018, the research firm said, adding that the Korean chipmaker’s revenue increased 28% in 2021.
Intel’s revenue, in contrast, declined 0.3%, and the Pat Gelsinger-led firm cornered a 12.2% market share. SK Hynix, the Korean dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chipmaker, grew 40.6% year-on-year and cornered the third spot in the market by revenue.
Gartner noted that the most significant shift among the semiconductor vendor ranking in 2021 was HiSilicon dropping out of the top 25. “HiSilicon’s revenue declined 81%, from $8.2 billion in 2020 to $1.5 billion in 2021,” said Norwood. “This was a direct result of the US sanctions against the company and its parent company Huawei.”
This also impacted China’s share of the semiconductor market as it declined from 6.7% market share in 2020 to 6.5% in 2021. South Korea had the largest increase in market share in 2021 as strong growth in the memory market propelled South Korea to garner 19.3 % of the global semiconductor market,” Norwood said.
Gartner stressed that 2021 saw stronger demand return to the automotive and industrial markets compared to the weak, COVID-disrupted market in 2020. “The automotive semiconductor market outperformed all other end markets, growing 34.9% in 2021. Wireless communications, which is dominated by smartphones, saw a growth of 24.6%.”
The number of 5G handsets produced reached 556 million in 2021, up from 251 million units in 2020, and enterprises upgraded their Wi-Fi infrastructure for employees heading back to the office.
Driven by DRAM, memory accounted for 27.9% of semiconductor sales in 2021 and experienced 33.2% revenue growth, increasing $41.3 billion over the previous year, the research firm said.