Samsung overtakes Apple as top semiconductor buyer in 2012

By on January 23, 2013, 4:30 PM

Samsung has vaulted past Apple to become the world’s biggest buyer of semiconductors, according to new data from Gartner. The two were virtually tied for semiconductor purchases in 2011, but last year the scale tipped slightly to the South Korean firm’s side, which bought 8% of the world’s semiconductors to the tune of $23.9 billion, while Apple’s spending on semiconductors rose to $21.4 billion for a 7.2% share.

Overall semiconductor market sales decreased by 3%, however, and outside of the two post-PC heavyweights six of the top ten chip buyers actually cut spending due to a slowdown in traditional computer sales.

HP came in as the third largest spender at $14 billion, which was almost 13% lower than the previous year, while fourth-placed Dell cut spending by a similar proportion to $8.6 billion. Sony rose to fifth in the rankings after boosting spending 1.9 percent to $7.9 billion, followed by Lenovo in sixth up by a slight 0.3% to $7.2 billion and Toshiba which reduced semiconductor purchases in 2012 by 17% to $6.5 billion.

Gartner notes “a dramatic change” in consumer demand was contributed significantly to the shift in semiconductor buying. Despite this the PC market still represented the largest sector for chip demand, Gartner notes. But the slowdown caused a substantial decrease in semiconductor demand in 2012, as the semiconductor content of a smartphone or a media tablet is far less than that of a PC.

Top 10 semiconductor design TAM by company, worldwide 2012, preliminary (billions of dollars)

Rank 2011 Rank 2012 Company 2011 2012 Growth (%) Share (%)
2 1 Samsung Electronics 18.6 23.9 28.9 8.0
1 2 Apple 18.8 21.4 13.6 7.2
3 3 HP 16.0 14.0 -12.7 4.7
4 4 Dell 9.9 8.6 -13.4 2.9
5 5 Sony 7.7 7.9 1.9 2.7
7 6 Lenovo 7.8 7.8 0.3 2.6
6 7 Toshiba 7.8 6.5 -17.1 2.2
9 8 LG Electronics 6.5 6.0 -6.7 2.0
11 9 Cisco 5.4 5.4 -0.8 1.8
5 10 Nokia 8.6 5.0 -42.6 1.7
    Others 199.7 191.1 -4.3 64.2
    Total 306.8 297.6 -3.0 100.0



User Comments: 6

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Guest said:

With so many iterations of the same product, of course they're going to order a lot of parts.*nerd*

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Lawsuit! Apple has a patent on being top semiconductor buyer.

hellokitty[hk] hellokitty[hk], I'm a TechSpot Evangelist, said:

What kind of semiconductors does Samsung buy? I know they sell a lot of things but they make a huge amount of them too unlike Apple who has to buy nearly everything.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

, post: 1271665, member: 169488"]What kind of semiconductors does Samsung buy? I know they sell a lot of things but they make a huge amount of them too unlike Apple who has to buy nearly everything.

Yeah I thought they had their own fab. Why buy chips when you can make them.

misor misor said:

Wow, nice price cuts from samsung in a nearby city.

prices of samsung s3 mini, samsung ace duos, samsung s advance, etc. are sliced by about 15%.

android 4.0.x are now almost 200$.

if only samsung and other android phone makers will release an android 4.0.x/4.x at 100-150$ range, then I'll get one (to accompany my cheap samsung galaxy y running android 2.3.6).

samsung galaxy s3 (openline) are also with ~50$ discount.

if samsung's rise continues, the more legal battle/drama we will see from samsung-apple.

I wonder if samsung is keen on producing low to high-end windows phone 8.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Quality products at a fair price is always a fail safe way of attracting buyers but M$ has a minimum phone hardware spec for their operating system.

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