The global silicon wafer market size was estimated at USD 7.21 billion in 2016 and is expected to grow due to the rising use of semiconductors in various industry verticals such as automotive, consumer electronics, medical and military. Silicon wafer is used as a substrate in the fabrication of semiconductor components such as integrated circuits (ICs). Escalating demand for wireless communication devices such as smartphones and tablets is expected to drive the global market.
Global silicon wafer market size, by type, 2014 - 2024 (USD Billion)
Rising disposable income is one of the decisive drivers for the market that leads to a rise in demand for technologically sophisticated gadgets. In addition, increasing installations of solar panels across the globe owing to growing awareness regarding renewable energy sources will drive the market growth in future.
In 2015, global market revenue decreased in comparison with 2014 due to decline in the volume of 200 mm and smaller wafers. Companies are extensively investing in 300 mm, and larger sized wafers due to the low cost of production per unit area.
Replacement of silicon by gallium nitride (GaN) for manufacturing semiconductor wafers is likely to be a threat to this market. Moreover, GaN offers additional miniaturization and size reductions as compared with silicon, thereby resulting in an increase in energy efficiency and density.
Segmentation by Type
Demand for 450MM silicon wafer is anticipated to grow on account of its benefits such as substantial cost saving compared with other sizes. To that end, around 30% cost savings can be achieved in the manufacturing of 450 MM wafer as compared to 300 MM size.
300 mm segment is anticipated to be the fastest growing segment with a growth rate of over 9.0% during forecast period. This type of wafers is widely used in the manufacturing of semiconductor devices, the reason being their high production capacity as compared to all other substrates. Companies prefer developing their semiconductor devices that are based on 300MM wafer technology due to enhanced productivity and efficiency. The 300MM wafer technology can manufacture a large number of semiconductor devices in a single batch.
Segmentation by Application
• Consumer Electronics
The rising demand for slim smartphones across the globe renders encouraging growth for this segment during the forecast period. Owing to mass adoption of smartphones worldwide, the demand for compact and efficient ICs have scaled up.
Consumer electronics segment comprises TVs, refrigerators, automated coffee machines, and home theaters. Need for silicon substrates has become more evident as it is employed in almost all the home appliances. Introduction and easy accessibility of new age electronic gadgets loaded with smart features including keypads, touch displays, and inbuilt memory is expected to provide growth opportunities for the market.
Computers accounted for over one-third of the market share in 2016 and are expected to exhibit moderate growth over the forecast period owing to the popularity of mobile devices over a traditional computer system. Industrial applications include extensive use of silicon substrates in healthcare devices (digital thermometers, pulse oximeters), power supplies, motor control units among others. Semiconductor devices such as IGBTs and thyristors are widely used in power supplies owing to their properties such as high efficiency and fast switching.
Segmentation by region
• North America
• Asia Pacific
• Rest of World
Rising semiconductor manufacturing capacities in China and Taiwan is anticipated to add to the growth of the market in the Asia Pacific region, where the expected growth rate is over 9.0% during the forecast period. The geography is particularly dominant concerning IC market share in the smartphones and computer categories. Also, the demand for these products in automotive sector due to China’s growing portion in car shipments drives the APAC market growth.
In North America, demand for silicon substrates is projected to rise in solar photovoltaic cells application. Increasing installations of solar panels in the region owing to progressing awareness regarding environment-friendly options is expected to drive the growth of the market.
The market is consolidated in nature and is marked by the presence of a well-established manufacturers. Companies are investing in advanced technology to develop larger sized 450 MM silicon wafers through cost rationalization. SUMCO CORPORATION and Siltronic AG are among the leading companies in the industry, besides other vendors such as Shin-Etsu Chemical Co., SK SILTRON, SunEdison Semiconductor, Ltd., okuyama Corporation, NexWafe GmbH.
Research Support Specialist, USA