According to Gartner's preliminary figures, worldwide semiconductor revenue grew just 0.9 percent from 2010, topping out at $302 billion in 2011. After a strong start to the year, the semiconductor market was on pace to grow at a greater clip than less than 1 percent, but then buyers worried about the strength of the economy started to cut back orders for equipment and semiconductors, Gartner says.
"The industry did well in the early part of the year, in many cases entering the year with backlog from an exuberant 2010," said Stephan Ohr, semiconductor research director at Gartner. "But uncertainty about the state of the macroeconomy set in at the midpoint of the year. Consumers held off purchases, and infrastructure expansion plans languished as governments resisted assuming more debt. Equipment inventories began to build as the year progressed, with resulting ripples throughout the semiconductor industry."
Intel retained its position as the world's No. 1 semiconductor vendor, a spot it's held for 20 consecutive years. What's more, Intel's 16.9 percent share of the market is as large as it's ever been, eclipsing a previous high of 16.3 percent back in 1998. In a distant second is Samsung with a 9.7 percent share, followed by Texas Instruments (4 percent), Toshiba (3.9 percent), and Renesas Electronics (3.5 percent) rounding out the top five.