RF/microwave to lead power transistor recovery in 2021

24th July 2020
Alex Lynn

The total power transistor market is expected to fall seven percent in 2020 because of the COVID-19 virus crisis, but sales are forecast to rebound seven percent next year and reach a new record high in 2022, according to an O-S-D Report.

After three straight years of record-high sales, the power transistor market is forecast to drop seven percent in 2020 because of the economic fallout from the global COVID-19 virus health crisis that has driven down demand across a broad range of systems.  A recovery in power transistors is now expected to occur in 2021 with worldwide sales growing seven percent to $16.9bn and unit shipments rising nine percent to 59.0 billion, according to IC Insights’ 2020 O-S-D Report—A Market Analysis and Forecast for Optoelectronics, Sensors/Actuators, and Discretes.

The 2020 edition of the O-S-D Report shows the power transistor market returning to record-high territory in 2022, when sales are forecast to grow five percent to $17.7bn, which would top the current annual peak of $17.1bn set in 2019.

Growth in radio-frequency and microwave power transistors is expected to lead the market recovery in 2021 because of the build-out of fifth-generation (5G) cellular networks that will use a range of new transmission frequencies, including those in the millimeter (mmWave) spectrum.  

New 5G basestations are also employing more antennas and multiple signals to secure high-speed connections with smartphones and Internet of Things systems—such as self-driving cars—that need real-time communications.  RF/microwave devices are forecast to lead power transistor market growth through 2024.

IC Insights’ 2020 O-S-D Report forecasts the 2021 power transistor recovery being led by growth in RF/microwave products (+9% to $1.3 billion), low-voltage (<40V) power field-effect transistors (+8% to $3.7bn), and bipolar power modules (+8% to $54m).  The report also shows insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) module sales growing seven percent to $4.1bn in 2021 and IGBT discrete transistor revenues rising seven percent to a record-high $1.6bn that year.  

The ongoing spread of battery-operated products, more mobile systems, increased efficiencies in power supplies, and improvements in electric/hybrid vehicles will continue to drive growth in power FETs and IGBT products over the next four years, says the O-S-D Report.

Total power transistor sales are expected to increase by a modest 1.7% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2019 and 2024 to hit $18.6bn in the final year of the forecast. This projected sales growth rate is 3.6 percentage points below the CAGR of 5.3% seen in the last five years (2014-2019), mostly because of the downturn in 2020 due to the COVID-19 virus pandemic.

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