Sales of chips for cellular handsets will surpass sales of chips for PCs for the first tine in 2017 as the PC sales slump continues and tablet shipments also plummet, according to market research firm IC Insights Inc.
Sales of ICs for handsets are projected to grow 16 percent this year to reach $84.4 billion, according to IC Insights. Meanwhile, sales of ICs for PCs—including desktop and notebook computers, tablets and ultra-thin Internet-centric client devices—are forecast to grow 9 percent to reach $80.1 billion, the firm predicts.
Booming memory chip prices will boost growth in both phones and PCs, IC Insights said. But by virtue of the higher growth rate, handsets will become the largest application for ICs this year for the first time, according to the firm.
The average selling price (ASP) for DRAM chips is expected to increase by 53 percent this year, while NAND flash ASPs are projected to right by 28 percent. Last year, IC sales to handsets grew by 2 percent after rising 1 percent in 2015. Sales of chips for ICs grew by just 1 percent last year after falling 6 percent in 2015, IC Insights said.
Cellphone IC sales are also expected to get a boost this year from a projected 5 percent increase in shipments of smartphones, which are being packed with more low-power DRAM and nonvolatile flash storage, IC Insights said. Growth in PCs is expected to be held back by 3 percent declines in both standard personal computer and tablet unit volumes in 2017, the firm said.