Apple remained the world’s largest buyer of semiconductor chips in 2013, according to a new report from IHS Technology.
“As in 2012, Apple and Samsung were the top semiconductor spenders in 2013 among original equipment manufacturers (OEM) making more than $1 billion in revenue,” said Myson Robles-Bruce, senior analyst for semiconductor spend and design analysis at IHS, in a statement. “Apple was in first place with chip spending in 2013 of $30.3 billion, outspending runner-up Samsung’s $22.2 billion by more than $8 billion.”
Combined, the two claimed about 14 percent of total spending in 2013, well ahead of other prominent chip buyers. Rounding out the Top 5 are Hewlett-Packard in third place, with $10.1 billion in spending; Lenovo in fourth, with $9.2 billion; and Dell in fifth, with $7.7 billion. The rest of the Top 10 includes Cisco Systems, Sony, Huawei Technologies, Panasonic and Toshiba.
All told, the served available market (SAM) for semiconductor spending reached $237.2 billion in 2013, up nearly 5 percent after spending dipped from $231.7 billion in 2011 to $226.7 billion in 2012.
The SAM metric counts only expenditures that an OEM made as an external agent, which gives a truer picture of the state of chip spending in the electronics industry. This is because SAM does not factor in spending by manufacturers for chip buying done at their own internal divisions—as can happen with entities like Samsung, whose internal customers within the vast Samsung family of companies compete with external clients in sourcing Samsung-made semiconductors.
The findings are contained in the report, “Wireless and Industrial Boost Semiconductor Spending,” which tracks the semiconductor procurement of more than 200 electronics companies.
In the consumer market Apple and Samsung continue to face off in their smartphones and tablet offerings, where the two are locked in fierce combat. Apple remains the leader in both smartphones and tablets, with its iPhone and iPad selling in greater numbers than Samsung’s Galaxy line of handsets and tablets.
Spending last year on semiconductors was strongest in the wireless segment among seven different application categories.
Wireless accounted for nearly one-third of total OEM chip spending at 31 percent, followed by chip spending on computer platforms at a distant second with 22 percent. In third place was chip spending on consumer devices, at 16 percent.
The remaining four categories claimed single-digit share in total OEM chip spending. These segments include industrial, automotive, wired communications and computer peripherals.
The top OEM buyers in the wireless segment were Apple, Samsung, Huawei, ZTE and LG. And for the first time, spending on tablets overtook that on wireless infrastructure. Both were still well behind handsets, which remained far and away the top category for OEM chip spending in the wireless segment.
Wireless was also the fastest-growing application segment this year, up 20 percent; with industrial electronics in second place, up 7 percent.