SAN JOSE -- Will this year's semiconductor equipment slowdown mean pent-up demand will explode next year?
SEMI analysts think so.
"While various industry segments appear to be tapping the brakes, others are revving their engines, hoping for an improved 2013. Increased demand for mobile devices, such as new smartphones, ultraportable PCs, and tablets may push semiconductor revenue higher by 10%, making 2013 another golden year," says Christian Gregor Dieseldorff.
2012 has played with expectations. At the beginning of the year, semiconductor demand was expected to rise 4 to 6%, but those hopes flattened as the year went on, and most analysts now predict flat to 2% growth this year. The slowdown took with it hopes for a strong year for semiconductor equipment. "Semiconductor revenue and capex rise and fall together, such that fab equipment spending generally trends along a similar path," says Dieseldorff.
Nevertheless, although 2012 capex will assuredly fall year-over-year, the year may yet end up as the third-largest in history. Better, SEMI forecasts about 200 facilities will add equipment in 2013, leading the trade group to forecast 17% growth to almost $43 billion.