Information technology research firm Gartner raised its semiconductor revenue forecast for 2010 on Wednesday, drawing a line between its bullish outlook for chips in the second half of this year and its lowered expectations for PC shipments announced the day before.
Semiconductor sales worldwide are expected to jump 31.5% to $300 billion this year, compared to last year, according to the Gartner report. That's several points better than its previous forecast of a 27.1% growth for the year.
Analysts warned, however, that growth is likely to be below seasonal norms. "Semiconductor growth in the first half of 2010 was very strong, but it is becoming increasingly clear that the industry cannot maintain the momentum in the second half of 2010 and into 2011," said Bryan Lewis, a Gartner research vice president, in a statement.
He pointed to a slowing global economic recovery and increasing concern that electronic equipment vendors are standing ready to cut production at the first signs of a slowdown in customer orders. Intel (INTC), for example, is already anticipating a slowdown, cutting its third-quarter earnings forecast just last week.
The PC market, however, is seeing more serious setbacks and Gartner on Tuesday lowered its shipment forecast for the second half of 2010. It now expects the worldwide PC market to ship a total of 367.8 million units this year, up 19% over last year.
"We have reduced our forecast for second-half 2010 PC growth to 15.3%, approximately 2% below our previous forecast, in light of the uncertain economic outlook for the United States and Western Europe," said Ranjit Atwal, a Gartner research director, in a statement.
Concerns about PC demand in these mature markets has led to dramatic shifts in production among parts suppliers. But Atwal noted suppliers aversion to risk is as much a contributor to these shifts as any actual downshift in demand. Semiconductors, of course, are part of that supply chain.