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2021-03-02

Given 105% YoY Growth in 2020, Gaming Monitor Shipment Expected to Exceed 25 Million Units This Year, a 41% Growth YoY, Says TrendForce

Yearly gaming monitor (defined as having a refresh rate of at least 100Hz) shipment reached 18.4 million units in 2020, a 105% increase YoY, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. This growth took place because monitor brands and panel suppliers poured considerable resources into this product category and because the stay-at-home economy generated a high demand for gaming monitors. TrendForce expects the gaming monitor market to remain in an upward trajectory in 2021, with a forecasted yearly shipment of about 25.9 million units, a 41% increase YoY.

TrendForce analyst Anita Wang indicates that, among the top five largest gaming monitor brands in 2020, MSI registered a remarkable 114% YoY growth in its gaming monitor shipment for the year. Although the company had primarily focused on curved gaming monitors, it began diversifying its offerings and expanding its lineup of flat IPS monitors in 2020. MSI’s 114% YoY growth far exceeded the market average and was the highest among the top five brands.

Thanks to Asus’ large-scale expansion of its gaming product lineup and an aggressive effort to procure components since early 2020, Asus’ yearly shipment of gaming monitors reached a 108% increase YoY. At the same time, Asus’ performance in the gaming monitor segment also resulted in the highest total yearly monitor shipment in the company’s history. In terms of monitor shipment (which includes both gaming and non-gaming monitors), Asus’ YoY % growth was the highest among the top 10 brands.

AOC/Philips saw a 102% YoY growth in their gaming monitor shipment for 2020, due to the high sales of their mainstream curved gaming monitors and flat IPS monitors, both of which contributed to an increase in AOC/Philips’ market share. At the same time, AOC/Philips is set to release high-end Mini LED models this year, giving them a more comprehensive monitor portfolio.

On the other hand, with regards to gaming monitor panels, SDC (Samsung Display Co.) led the field with a 35% market share in 2020. However, as SDC makes a gradual exit from the panel manufacturing business this year, the gaming monitor panel market has become a hotly contested sector for the remaining suppliers. In particular, AUO, which was ranked second in terms of market share in 2020, is expected to leapfrog its competitors and score the highest share in the gaming monitor panel market this year as it continues to expand the volume of panels that it supplies to gaming monitor manufacturers.

(Cover image source: MSI Co., Ltd.)

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Display Research, please click here, or email Ms. Vivie Liu from the Sales Department at vivieliu@trendforce.com

2021-03-02

Automakers Score Remarkable Performances in Top Five Ranking of EV Sales in 2020 Thanks to Affordable Models, Says TrendForce

Global sales of NEV (new energy vehicles, which include both BEV and PHEV) skyrocketed in the final two months of 2020, with various models setting historical sales records, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. TrendForce estimates total NEV sales for 2020 at 2.9 million units, a 43% increase YoY, and further expects yearly sales to reach 3.9 million units in 2021. However, as the current shortage of automotive chips has had a considerable impact on the auto industry, some uncertainties still exist in the forecast of EV sales.

With regards to the BEV market, Tesla primarily focused on marketing the Model 3 as its key model for 2020. The automaker took leadership position with a 24.5% market share last year, while the Model Y is expected to be key to securing its continued leadership in 2021 primarily because China has issued a sales permit allowing the Model Y to be exempt from purchase tax. Furthermore, Tesla was able to catch its competitors off guard by discounting Model Y prices by 30% on the first day of 2021. Volkswagen took second place in the rankings due to not only the excellent market reception of the e-Golf, but also the remarkable sales figures set by the ID.3 in 2H20, which helped Volkswagen stabilize its market share. Incidentally, as the ID.4 is set to hit the market later on, it is expected to make meaningful contributions to Volkswagen’s overall EV sales in 2021 instead of 2020.

BYD derives its competitive advantage from having a comprehensive model lineup. The Chinese company comfortably took third place with a 6.4% market share. Conversely, fourth-ranked Wuling Hongguang became the dark horse of 2020 by fielding a single EV model, the Hongguang Mini. Not only was the Hongguang Mini attractively priced, but the Chinese government also made a heavy push for NEV sales in China’s rural areas. Both of these factors allowed the Hongguang Mini to become one of the global top sellers within six months of its release. Hot on the heels of Wuling Hongguang is Renault, which took fifth place in the ranking. Renault was able to score a 5.6% market share thanks to its longstanding best seller ZOE. Although other models, including the Nissan Leaf and Hyundai Kona, also posted remarkable sales performances last year, their respective automakers did not place on the top five list because these automakers each had total EV sales that fell short of the five automakers on the list.

On the other hand, the top PHEV manufacturers were neck and neck in terms of ranking by market share. BMW and Mercedes-Benz each possessed a 13% market share, followed by Volvo with 12%. Fourth-ranked Volkswagen and fifth-ranked Audi registered a 10% market share and 6% market share, respectively.

TrendForce indicates that China and Europe are perfect examples of EV markets propelled by government policies. For instance, European automakers have adopted a proactive position to expand their EV lineups as a result of the stringent emissions standards set by the EU, and these automakers have subsequently been aiming to achieve zero carbon emissions or increase the share of EVs in their total vehicle sales. Apart from China and Europe, the US is yet another market where policies may have a positive effect on EV sales. After winning the 2020 presidential election, Biden is now set to launch his clean energy proposal, which includes replacing the US government’s existing fleet with EVs, removing the previously set ceiling on federal tax credits for EV purchases, and offering consumer tax incentives to replacing their conventional fossil fuel vehicles with EVs, among other actions. If these proposed actions were eventually implemented, TrendForce believes they would be able to drive up EV sales in the US.

2021-02-25

Server DRAM Contract Prices Projected to Rise by 10-15% QoQ in 2Q21 Owing to Limited Production Capacities, Says TrendForce

Since 3Q20, memory suppliers’ production capacities allocated to server DRAM have dropped to about 30% of the total DRAM production capacity, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations.

While this decrease took place as suppliers sought to increase the supply of other DRAM products in higher demand, it also represented an attempt for them to adjust the ASP of various DRAM products. Furthermore, since the persistent demand for consumer electronics has shown no signs of slowing down in 1Q21, as of now suppliers have also been maintaining the same capacity allocation as last year.

However, given that second quarters have traditionally marked the cyclical upturn in server shipment, server DRAM demand is thus expected to ramp up in 2Q21, in turn prompting suppliers to raise their quotes for server DRAM. TrendForce is therefore revising up the QoQ increase in server DRAM contract prices for 2Q21 from the original forecast of 8-13% to the adjusted forecast of 10-15%, with certain transactions potentially involving as much as a 20% price hike.

Server DRAM contract prices are likely to increase by more than 40% throughout the year as demand is likely to persist through 3Q21

With regards to demand, after DRAM prices reached rock bottom at the end of last year, the oversupply situation in the market and the pressure on buyers to destock their inventory have both gradually stabilized by now. As prices closed in on historically low levels, buyers became more and more active in their procurement activities. In addition, data center demand for server DRAM is set to increase after 1Q21, driven by the increasing cloud migration needs of the post-pandemic “new normal”. This demand will likely persist through 2H21, thereby injecting additional growth momentum into the overall server market.

With regards to supply, on the other hand, DRAM suppliers will be relatively conservative in their capacity expansion efforts this year, with most suppliers having no plans to expand their capacities. Also, the oligopolistic nature of the DRAM industry means suppliers generally prioritize profitability over other factors when allocating their production capacities. Case in point, the rising popularity of WFH and distance education led suppliers to reallocate their production capacities last year. More specifically, suppliers allocated their capacities to first fulfill the high demand from the smartphone and notebook computer markets in 3Q20. As a result, capacities allocated to server DRAM underwent a corresponding decline during this period.

On the whole, TrendForce expects server DRAM contract prices to increase by about 8% QoQ in 1Q21 and by 3-4% MoM on average within the quarter. Moreover, TrendForce also does not rule out the possibility that server DRAM contract prices may experience additional slight MoM increases past this period given that contract prices are negotiated on a quarterly basis. Looking ahead, TrendForce indicates that server DRAM will remain in high demand through 3Q21, as geopolitical uncertainties and the shift of work life towards WFH continue to generate upward momentum for server shipment. Therefore, server DRAM contract prices are expected to rise by more than 40% cumulatively from late 2020 to late 2021.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Semiconductor Research, please click here, or email Ms. Latte Chung from the Sales Department at lattechung@trendforce.com

2021-02-24

Revenue of Top 10 Foundries Expected to Increase by 20% YoY in 1Q21 in Light of Fully Loaded Capacities, Says TrendForce

Demand in the global foundry market remains strong in 1Q21, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. As various end-products continue to generate high demand for chips, clients of foundries in turn stepped up their procurement activities, which subsequently led to a persistent shortage of production capacities across the foundry industry.

TrendForce therefore expects foundries to continue posting strong financial performances in 1Q21, with a 20% YoY growth in the combined revenues of the top 10 foundries, while TSMC, Samsung, and UMC rank as the top three in terms of market share. However, the future reallocation of foundry capacities still remains to be seen, since the industry-wide effort to accelerate the production of automotive chips may indirectly impair the production and lead times of chips for consumer electronics and industrial applications.

TSMC has been maintaining a steady volume of wafer inputs at its 5nm node, and these wafer inputs are projected to account for 20% of the company’s revenue. On the other hand, owing to chip orders from AMD, Nvidia, Qualcomm, and MediaTek, demand for TSMC’s 7nm node is likewise strong and likely to account for 30% of TSMC’s revenue, a slight increase from the previous quarter. On the whole, TSMC’s revenue is expected to undergo a 25% increase YoY in 1Q21 and set a new high on the back of surging demand for 5G, HPC, and automotive applications.

In response to increased client demand for 5G chips, CIS, driver ICs, and HPC chips, Samsung will continue to raise its semiconductor CAPEX this year, which is divided between its memory and foundry businesses and represents Samsung’s desire to catch up to TSMC. With regards to process technologies, the Korean company’s capacity utilization rates for the 5nm and 7nm nodes have been relatively high in 1Q21, during which Samsung is expected to increase its revenue by 11% YoY.

In addition to chip demand from the automotive sector, UMC has been keeping up with manufacturing driver ICs, PMICs, RF front-end, and IoT products. The company’s capacity thus remains fully loaded in 1Q21, and UMC is expected to undergo a 14% YoY increase in revenue. GlobalFoundries is similarly experiencing high capacity utilization rates due to the increase in automotive chip demand, as well as the military chips that it has been manufacturing for the U.S. Department of Defense. GlobalFoundries’ revenue is expected to increase by 8% YoY in 1Q21.

SMIC’s revenue for the 14nm and below nodes is expected to decline in 1Q21 as the company was added to the Entity List by the U.S. and subsequently faced constraints in the development of advanced processes. However, with the persistent demand in the foundry market for mature processes above (including) the 40nm node, SMIC’s revenue is projected to stay on a positive trajectory and reach a 17% YoY increase in 1Q21. TowerJazz will spend about US$150 million on a small-scale capacity expansion, but equipment move-in and calibrations will not be finalized until approximately 2H21, after which the expanded capacity will start measurably contributing to the company’s revenue. In 1Q21, TowerJazz’s revenue is expected to be on par with the previous quarter while reaching a 15% increase YoY.

PSMC is primarily focused on manufacturing memory products, DDICs, CIS, and PMICs. At the moment, high demand for 8-inch and 12-inch wafer capacities and for automotive chips has resulted in fully loaded capacity for PSMC. The company’s revenue is expected to increase by 20% YoY in 1Q21. Likewise, VIS’ capacity is fully loaded across all of its process technologies. Driven by increased spec requirements for PMICs and small-sized DDICs, VIS’ revenue is expected to increase by 26% YoY in 1Q21. Finally, Hua Hong is currently placing considerable emphasis on expanding the 12-inch capacity of HH Fab7 in Wuxi. Process technologies for 12-inch production lines, including NOR, BCD, Super Junction, and IGBT, have all passed qualifications, thereby injecting fresh momentum into Hua Hong’s development. Furthermore, given Hua Hong’s fully loaded 8-inch capacities and the fact that its performance in 1Q20 represents a relatively low base period for YoY comparison, Hua Hong’s revenue may likely reach a 42% YoY increase in 1Q21.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Semiconductor Research, please click here, or email Ms. Latte Chung from the Sales Department at lattechung@trendforce.com

2021-02-23

Explosive Growth in Automotive DRAM Demand Projected to Surpass 30% CAGR in Next Three Years, Says TrendForce

Driven by such factors as the continued development of autonomous driving technologies and the build-out of 5G infrastructure, the demand for automotive memories will undergo a rapid growth going forward, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations.

Take Tesla, which is the automotive industry leader in the application of autonomous vehicle technologies, as an example. Tesla has adopted GDDR5 DRAM products from the Model S and X onward because it has also adopted Nvidia’s solutions for CPU and GPU. The GDDR5 series had the highest bandwidth at the time to complement these processors. The DRAM content has therefore reached at least 8GB for vehicles across all model series under Tesla.

The Model 3 is further equipped with 14GB of DRAM, and the next-generation of Tesla vehicles will have 20GB. If content per box is used as a reference for comparison, then Tesla far surpasses manufacturers of PCs and smartphones in DRAM consumption. TrendForce forecasts that the average DRAM content of cars will continue to grow in the next three years, with a CAGR of more than 30% for the period.

Based on the existing vehicle models circulating in the global car market, TrendForce estimates that the average DRAM content of cars will reach around 4GB in 2021. The growth in the average DRAM content of cars is expected to be much higher this year than in the past few years. However, car sales are not as great in scale when compared with sales of consumer electronics such as notebook (laptop) computers and smartphones. In 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual global car sales totaled around 94 million vehicle units. Also, cars have less DRAM content compared with servers. Looking at the 2019 data, the distribution of the annual global DRAM consumption shows that the automotive memory segment accounted for less than 2% of the total.

Despite high barrier to entry, memory suppliers have been scrambling for automotive market share due to high profit margins

Compared with other application segments, automotive memory has a much higher standard for durability and reliability over the long term. The operating lifecycle of a car starts at 10 years, so DRAM suppliers basically have to guarantee that their automotive memory solutions have a product lifecycle of at least 7-10 years in order to satisfy the needs related to vehicle maintenance and replacements of parts. From the perspective of suppliers, the selection of process technology for product development and manufacturing is a key decision point when it comes to formulating a strategy for the automotive memory segment. Even as suppliers continuously migrate to the more advanced process technology, they have to ensure product longevity and long-term support for their automotive offerings.

Another issue, which is associated with durability, is operating temperature. Given that countries around the world have their own climates and extreme weather events, automotive DRAM products must have a much wider temperature range with a higher threshold and a lower threshold when compared with other categories of DRAM products, in order to ensure that cars do not break down on the road.

Finally, with density and other specifications being the same, prices of automotive DRAM products are at least 30% higher than prices of conventional commercial DRAM products. For the automotive DRAM products that have met some of the most stringent standards set by the industry, their prices can even be several times higher than prices of conventional commercial DRAM products. In sum, although automotive DRAM products are more difficult and costly to manufacture than other kinds of DRAM products, their high profit margins and large potential market have been attracting DRAM suppliers to now scramble for a piece of the automotive memory segment.

Taiwanese manufacturers show great potential as Winbond thrives in automotive OEM market with its comprehensive product portfolio

Currently, Micron is the leader in automotive memory products with a market share of nearly 50%. The supplier first has the geographical advantage. Moreover, its collaborative relationships with tier-1 automotive suppliers based in Europe and the U.S. are longer in duration compared with its competitors. Micron also has a more comprehensive product lineup for automotive applications, ranging from traditional solutions (e.g., DDR2 to DDR4) to LPDDR solutions (e.g., LPDDR2 to LPDDR5) to GDDR6 solutions. Additionally, Micron provides automakers with other types of memory technologies such as NAND Flash, NOR Flash, and MCP.

Apart from the three dominant DRAM manufacturers, Taiwan-based Nanya Tech and Winbond are continuing to release a wide variety of memory products in response to the growing demand of the automotive industry. In addition to possessing a comprehensive product mix ranging from traditional DDR solutions (e.g., up to DDR4) to low-power solutions (e.g., LPSDR to LPDDR4X), Nanya Tech has also adopted the 20nm node for a significant portion of its manufacturing processes, which are relatively stable in terms of yield rate. On the whole, automotive applications account for nearly 15% of Nanya Tech’s specialty DRAM revenue, while specialty DRAMs account for more than 60% of the company’s total revenue.

Winbond, on the other hand, has been cultivating its presence in the automotive market for more than 10 years. Although the three dominant DRAM manufacturers are ahead of Winbond in terms of process technologies, Winbond’s extensive product portfolio, which includes specialty DRAM, mobile DRAM, NOR Flash, SLC NAND, and MCP, represents a competitive advantage over the vast majority of other manufacturers. Given that the automotive OEM market is both relatively stable and profitable, Winbond has been placing a long-term focus on this market; automotive applications now comprise more than 10% of the company’s total memory revenue, and Winbond’s automotive business will likely continue to expand going forward.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Semiconductor Research, please click here, or email Ms. Latte Chung from the Sales Department at lattechung@trendforce.com

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