Intel reclaims top position in semiconductors over Samsung

SEOUL, Jan. 16 (UPI) — Samsung Electronics lost its top-ranking position in the semiconductor market last year, as U.S.-based Intel beat the South Korean company, according to global research firm Gartner.

The firm said Wednesday Intel’s 2019 revenue amounted to $65.8 billion — down 0.7 percent from a year before — for a total market share of 15.7 percent.

Meanwhile, Samsung saw its sales plunge 29.1 percent to $52.2 billion year-on-year, with a market share of 12.5 percent.

Samsung, the world’s largest manufacturer of memory chips, surpassed Intel in 2017 to take the No. 1 position in the global semiconductor market for the first time.

Gartner attributed Samsung’s slide to an oversupply of memory chips.

The company’s memory revenue accounts for more than 80 percent of its sales.

Other memory powerhouses like South Korea’s SK hynix and the U.S.-based Micron Technology also suffered a sharp decline in sales in 2019.

“The memory market, which accounted for 26.7 percent of semiconductor sales in 2019, experienced a 31.5 percent decline in revenue in 2019,” Gartner Vice President Andrew Norwood said in a statement.

“Within memory, [dynamic random-access memory] revenue declined 37.5 percent due to an oversupply that started at the end of 2018 and lasted throughout 2019,” he added.

Norwood said an excessive inventory at DRAM vendors caused the product’s price to dip almost 50 percent last year.

However, Norwood expects the memory market to recover this year.

“In 2020, we expect to see semiconductor market revenue increase after the high inventory clearance to drive up the chip average selling price, especially in the memory sector,” he said. “The U.S.-China trade war seems to be easing as we move into 2020.”

Last year’s worldwide semiconductor revenue stood at $418.3 billion, down 11.9 percent from 2018. Nine out of the top 10 players suffered declining sales last year.