The global power discrete and module market is forecast to grow by $9 billion to reach $26.2 billion in 2016, according to a new report from IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS). Following good growth in the first half of 2011, the market fell away in the second to finish with only 9 percent growth over the whole year. Although market conditions have remained flat in the first half of 2012, the longer-term prospects remain positive, stated the research firm.  
With revenues growing 9 percent from 2010, it is clear that 2011 was, at best, an average year for the power semiconductor market. This follows the dramatic market fall in 2009 and spectacular recovery in 2010, so perhaps the industry was ready for a “normal” year. However, with business confidence uncertain and the recovery stalling, what are the prospects for the future? According to IMS Research’s soon to be published report on Power Semiconductor Discretes and Modules, there remains cautious long-term optimism, with the market projected to grow by almost $9 billion to $26.2 billion from 2011 to 2016, a compound annual growth rate of 8 percent.
According to IMS Research, the market for power semiconductor modules again grew faster than that for discrete power semiconductors in 2010, increasing by 32 percent to close on $4.6 billion. The power module market growth is continuing in 2012 despite slowing demand, as reduced business confidence is felt in industrial market sectors. “Power module revenues are predicted to grow by 14 percent in 2012 , and to be 80 percent higher than in 2011 in 2016” stated Richard Eden, senior analyst and author of ‘The World Market for Power Semiconductor Discretes & Modules’.
The power discrete market was worth an estimated $12.9 billion in 2011, having grown by just over 2 percent from 2010. Continued high demand for discrete IGBTs accounted for nearly all the growth. “The sudden surge in discrete IGBT demand was fuelled by sales of   domestic appliances such as room air-conditioning and variable speed washing machines in the Chinese market,” added Eden. “In contrast, sales of standard power MOSFETs and thyristors actually declined slightly in 2011.”
A high proportion of discrete power semiconductors are used in relatively fast-moving commodity items such as flat-screen televisions, notebook computers and mobile phone adapters. Sales of these products depend heavily on consumer confidence and the health of the global economy. Sales of power semiconductors in those sectors either declined or achieved negligible growth in 2011, and are not forecast to deliver much growth in 2012. Power semiconductor market growth will therefore be driven by increased content, either to improve power conversion efficiency or add functionality. In contrast, growth is forecast to accelerate in the automotive, renewable energy and transportation sectors.

Overall discrete power semiconductor market growth is predicted to remain less than 5 percent in 2012; the market is forecast to reach almost $18 billion in 2016.

The latest findings and analysis on this important market can be found in IMS Research’s “The World Market for Power Semiconductor Discretes & Modules 2012” report, due for publication in August 2012.