The market started worrying about the oversupply in semiconductor 2023, when the demand will start growing again depends on two factors: the situation of the macroeconomy and the inventory status.
Since foundries’ capacity utilization rates started drop in 3Q22, chip supply as a whole has decreased significantly. This, in turn, has helped limit inventory growth across the supply chain. However, the global economy is still at risk of a mild recession, so consumers may allocate more of their spending to daily necessities. They may also spend more on tourism due to easing of the pandemic. This could lead to weak sales for consumer electronic products.
Not to mention that most consumers already purchased the electronic products that they need for working or studying at home during the pandemic. Assuming that the overall inventory level of the supply chain will return to a healthier level, TrendForce believes that chip demand will begin to rebound to a certain extent in 2Q23. Then, the demand growth will become more obvious from 3Q23 onward. Nevertheless, this demand growth may not be too strong due to uncertainties in the global economy.
If we observe the situation from the perspective of the foundry industry, smartphones represent the largest application segment in terms of wafer consumption. The smartphone supply chain started inventory correction earlier, so demand rebound might be more obvious initially for smartphone-related chips compared with chips used in other consumer devices. On the other hand, with different benchmarks, the demand for HPC chips will show more significant growth compared with the demand for smartphone chips.