Samsung narrows Intel’s global chip market lead in Q2

1 min read

Intel in the second quarter maintained its position as the world’s largest semiconductor supplier, although second-placed Samsung closed the gap due to the strong performance of key memory products, according to market research from IHS Markit.

Intel extended its leadership for the third consecutive quarter with revenue of $15.5 billion in the second quarter, as reported by the IHS Markit Semiconductor Competitive Landscape Intelligence Service. However, company semiconductor revenue declined by 2.1 percent from $15.8 billion in the first quarter.

Samsung posted chip revenue just short of $13 billion in the second quarter. In contrast to Intel, Samsung managed to see sequential growth, with revenue rising 6.6 percent from the first quarter.

“Despite the fact that the memory chip market remains pressured by falling prices, weak demand and excess inventory, Samsung in the second quarter managed to find some growth opportunities for its memory products,” said Ron Ellwanger, senior analyst, semiconductor manufacturing at IHS Markit. “Samsung has started to see some recovery in NAND and DRAM memory due to strong demand for its high-density products from the mobile and storage segments. NAND sales specifically are benefitting from the higher adoption of solid-state drives (SSDs) in data centres and from the arrival of new smartphones that have expanded memory content.”

Samsung’s second-quarter performance contrasted sharply with the overall results for the memory market in 2019. Global memory revenue declined sharply in the second quarter of 2019 compared to a year earlier, with DRAM falling 33 percent and NAND flash plunging 35 percent from the second quarter of 2018.

However, on a sequential basis, the memory market showed some life in the second quarter, with DRAM revenue rising 4 percent compared to the first quarter, and NAND declining by just 5 percent.

Intel’s continued semiconductor leadership was highlighted by its strong performance in the internet of things (IoT) market. Intel’s revenue growth in IoT is being driven by its sales of products including industrial PCs that incorporate the company’s microprocessors.

Despite this, the company’s performance in the data centre market has been negatively impacted by slow demand from cloud service providers (CSPs). The CSPs are currently digesting inventory of server and storage array products, causing them to reduce purchases of new equipment that employs Intel’s chips. Moreover, Intel is also facing increasing competition in its core microprocessor business from chief rival Advanced Micro Devices and from ARM-based chips supplied by various competitors.