In brief: Worldwide semiconductor revenue dipped significantly in 2019 due to the global downturn in the memory market. As a result, Intel was able to slide back into the top overall spot for the first time in two years.
According to preliminary results from research firm Gartner, total semiconductor revenue dipped to $418.3 billion in 2019, a slide of 11.9 percent compared to 2018. Drilling down deeper, it's easy to see where things went off the rails.
The memory market accounted for 26.7 percent of semiconductor sales in 2019 and as Andrew Norwood, research vice president at Gartner, points out, it experienced a 31.5 percent dip last year. In that category, revenue from DRAM dropped 37.5 percent due to the global oversupply. This cut the average selling price nearly in half - good news for consumers but very bad news for memory makers.
NAND flash didn't experience quite as drastic of a downturn as revenue declined only 23.1 percent on the year. This segment of the market started to stabilize in July, helped out by a power outage at fabs owned by Western Digital and KIOXIA.
Samsung, which had held the number one position in 2017 and 2018 thanks to strong performance from its memory division, was unable to overcome the huge hit on the memory market and relinquished the top spot to Intel. SK Hynix, Micron Technology and Broadcom retained their positions as the third, fourth and fifth largest vendors by revenue, in that order.
Masthead credit: Microchip by Dragon Images