SAN FRANCISCO — Here we go again.

In a move reminiscent of the continual upward revisions to semiconductor market forecasts that characterized 2017, market watcher IC Insights has increased its forecast for semiconductor industry growth this year to 15 percent from a previous projection of 8 percent.

Just as strength in the memory chip market drove the broader chip market last year, the same trend is holding true early in 2018. IC Insights (Scottsdale, Ariz.) dramatically increased its forecast for DRAM sales growth to 37 percent from 13 percent and lifted its forecast for NAND sales growth to 17 percent from 10 percent.

The average selling price (ASP) of DRAM is now expected to be much stronger this year than originally forecast, IC Insights said. The firm expects DRAM ASPs to increase by 36 percent this year after growing by a whopping 81 percent last year.

NAND ASPs are now expected to increase by 10 percent this year, following a 45 percent increase last year, IC Insights said.
Unit volumes for DRAM and NAND are expected to grow less than average. IC Insights expects DRAM unit volumes to increase by 6 percent while NAND unit volume grows by 1 percent.

The DRAM market has provided a significant tailwind or headwind for total worldwide IC market growth in four out of the last five years. Source: IC Insights
The DRAM market has provided a significant tailwind or headwind for total worldwide IC market growth in four out of the last five years.
Source: IC Insights

Total DRAM sales are now forecast to reach $99.6 billion this year, by far the single largest product category in the semiconductor space, IC Insights said. The NAND market is now forecast to be worth $62.5 billion this year, according to the firm.

— Dylan McGrath is the editor-in-chief of EE Times.