Microprocessor sales are expected to increase by 12 percent in 2022 – to $114.8 billion — fueled by hikes in both volume and price. The top 5 MPU manufacturers will benefit most from that growth as they now represent 86 percent of the global market, according to IC Insights.
Total MPU sales grew 13 percent in 2021 and climbed 16 percent in 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic wrecked the global economy. But the pandemic also drove up microprocessor demand as workers needed personal computers, smartphones, and internet connections to perform their jobs from home.
MPU shipments will increase only 3 percent this year but is enough to drive unit volume to a record 2.5 million processors, IC Insights reported. Unit volume increased 6 percent in 2021 and 5 percent in 2020. MPU revenue is expected to get a boost from an 8 percent increase in ASPs after prices grew 7 percent last year and 10 percent in 2020.
Intel, Apple, Qualcomm, AMD and MediaTek, in order, are the world’s top 5 MPU manufacturers. The rankings didn’t change between 2020 and 2021, according to IC Insights. Their combined market share reached 86 percent last year of the total $102.7 billion MPUs sold. In 2020 their market share was 85 percent from 82.1 percent in 2016.
The next five largest MPU suppliers—Nvidia, Samsung, UNISOC, HiSilicon, and NXP—collectively held a 4.3 percent share of the 2021 of the market versus 5 percent in 2020.
IC Insights noted top-ranked Intel and fourth-place Advanced Micro Devices supply processors built with the x86 microarchitecture for traditional personal computers running Windows operating system software from Microsoft, inexpensive Chromebooks backed by Google, some tablets, and the vast majority of servers used worldwide. Intel and AMD also sell x86 designs for embedded MPU applications. The rest of the top five MPU suppliers sell mobile designs (primarily cellphone application processors) and embedded system-on-chip (SoC) microprocessors containing RISC architectures and CPU design cores licensed from the U.K.-based ARM subsidiary of Japan’s SoftBank holding company. The top four MPU suppliers are headquartered in the U.S. while fifth-ranked MediaTek is based in Taiwan.
While the combined market share of top five suppliers has steadily increased in the past 10 years, the revenue gap between long-time MPU leader Intel and the rest of four largest companies in the ranking continues to narrow. IC Insights estimates that Intel’s 2021 microprocessor revenues grew just 3 percent to $52.3 billion, which was 50.9 percent of the total MPU market last year, compared with a 55.7 percent share in 2020 and 58.4 percent in 2016. Rival x86-processor supplier AMD saw its MPU sales surge 56 percent to $9.2 billion in 2021, grabbing revenue away from Intel and moving up its total microprocessor market share to 8.9 percent last year compared to 6.5 in 2020.
IC Insights’ MPU ranking is based on sales of computer CPUs, embedded microprocessors, and cellphone application processors but excludes co-processors, such as AI/machine-learning accelerators and standalone graphics processing units (GPUs). Many application-specific system-on-chip (SoC) designs with integrated CPU cores are also not counted in the MPU ranking.
Author: Barbara Jorgensen
Barb Jorgensen is editor-in-chief for supply chain publication EPSNews and has covered electronics manufacturing, procurement and business for more than 25 years. Barb spent most of her career with Electronic Business magazine and EBN; freelanced; and then founded online publication EPSNews with two industry veterans—Bolaji Ojo and Gina Roos. EPSNews was acquired by AspenCore in 2017.