Samsung has overtaken Intel as the world’s biggest semiconductor company by revenue. According to research firm Gartner, the Korean behemoth recorded $73.2 billion in revenue from the semiconductor division in 2021. This marks a 28 percent year-on-year (YoY) growth from $57.2 billion in 2020. The company captured 12.3 percent of the global market.
This is the first time Samsung has reached the top spot in the semiconductor market since 2018 when it lost the crown to Intel. The American chipmaker didn’t enjoy much success in 2021. Its revenue declined 0.3 percent YoY from $72.7 billion in 2020 to $72.5 billion last year. It captured a 12.2 percent share in the global market.
While the top two semiconductor vendors traded places, the next four vendors maintained their 2020 market position in 2021 as well. Korean firm SK Hynix sits at the third spot with annual revenue of $36.3 billion. It registered a 40.6 percent YoY growth last year. Micron Technology ($28.6 billion), Qualcomm ($27.1 billion), and Broadcom ($18.8 billion) are the next three brands on the chart. These companies registered a 31.4 percent, 53.4 percent, and 19.3 percent YoY growth respectively.
Taiwanese biggie MediaTek saw its semiconductor revenue grow a massive 60.2 percent YoY in 2021 to reach $17.6 billion. This enabled the company to leapfrog Texas Instruments to the seventh spot. The latter registered a 26.8 percent YoY growth in revenue last year reaching $17.3 billion.
NVIDIA also made up a place thanks to a strong 58 percent YoY growth in revenue in 2021. Its reported revenue of $16.8 billion is closely followed by AMD with $16.3 billion. The latter broke into the top ten with a staggering 68.6 percent YoY growth.
Overall, the top ten semiconductor vendors in 2021 accounted for 54.6 percent of the global market, which grew 26.3 percent YoY from 2020 to reach $595 billion. Memory chips accounted for 27.9 percent of the total sales. This marks a 33.2 percent annual growth, which is a revenue increase of $41.3 billion from the previous year.
Automotive and smartphone industries drove semiconductor growth in 2021
According to the new report, the automotive market had a strong demand for semiconductor chips in 2021. It grew 34.9 percent last year, outperforming all other end markets. Wireless communications, which include smartphones and Wi-Fi routers, saw a growth of 24.6 percent. 5G smartphone production more than doubled from 251 million units in 2020 to 556 million in 2021, thus driving semiconductor sales.
“The events behind the current chip shortage continue to impact original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) around the world, but the 5G smartphone ramp-up and a combination of strong demand and logistics/raw material price increases drove semiconductor average selling prices (ASPs) higher, contributing to significant revenue growth in 2021,” said Andrew Norwood of Gartner.