Market research firm IHS Markit said in its report on Aug. 13 that Intel’s and Samsung Electronics’ semiconductor business sales for the second quarter of this year are estimated at US$15,449 million and US$12,972 million, respectively.
Samsung Electronics topped the global market in 2017 and for the first three quarters of 2018 with the memory chip market booming. However, Intel beat Samsung Electronics in the fourth quarter of 2018 and the first two quarters of this year.
Intel’s semiconductor sales reached US$18,874 million in the third quarter of 2018 and kept falling in the following quarters. Samsung Electronics’ semiconductor sales, which totaled US$21,015 million in the third quarter of 2018, fell in the fourth quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019 but showed a slight increase in the second quarter of 2019.
According to the firm’s report, Samsung Electronics now has a renewed vigor for some key memory chip products and the company’s NAND flash and DRAM businesses entered a recovery phase based on large demands for high-spec products in the mobile and storage markets. The firm also stressed that the company’s second-quarter performance is in stark contrast to this year’s overall memory chip market situations.
“Intel retained its top spot in the global semiconductor market based on an excellent IoT business performance,” the firm went on to say, continuing, “However, its data center-related business is still sluggish with demands from cloud service providers on the decrease.” It added that Intel is currently facing challenges from rivals such as AMD in the microprocessor segment, one of the core businesses of Intel.
Although the sales gap between Intel and Samsung Electronics is narrowing, Intel is likely to keep dominating the global semiconductor market for the second half of this year as well. This is because memory chip prices such as DRAM chip prices are showing no signs of rebounding unlike previous expectations.
According to Market research firm DRAMeXchange, the contract price of a DDR4 8Gb PC DRAM chip dropped 11.2 percent in July this year alone. Under the circumstances, the DRAM chip prices are now at levels posted in June 2016 immediately before a super boom. Many experts are forecasting that the memory chip market will rebound in 2021 at the earliest.