Microcontroller Market to 2020 - Touch Sensing, Smart Energy Management and Wireless Connectivity will be the Cornerstones for Revenue Growth

26 Nov 2010 • by Natalie Aster

Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV) Expected to Boost Microcontrollers Sales

The increase in the use of electronics in hybrid cars and electric vehicles is expected to increase the demand for MCUs. In 2010, automotive microcontrollers revenue is anticipated to reach $3.2 billion. Demand for energy efficient vehicles such as HEVs has increased due to rising energy costs and environmental concerns. Microcontrollers control many of the technologies used in hybrid electric vehicles. Electronic power steering and multiplexing are MCU-enabled applications which reduce overall vehicle weight and increase gas mileage by eliminating dedicated wires and mechanical systems.

Wireless Connectivity will Prove to be the Key Sector of Growth for the Microcontroller Market

The continuous growth in wireless technology and its increasing demand among people is a key market driver for the microcontroller market. Individuals want wireless connectivity for many applications that are currently connected by wires. Short range wireless applications include keyboard, mouse, speakers and PC handsets. Worldwide, Wi-Fi users totaled 1.58 billion in 2009, compared to 707 million users in 2008. These systems are using microcontrollers and other external components to orchestrate this wireless control.

Touch Sensing to Fuel Microcontroller Demand

GBI research expects touch sensing to provide a significant boost to the demand for microcontrollers. Touch sensing is quickly becoming a favorite among designers due to the increased reliability, greater design freedom and more contemporary look it offers. It is deemed one of the most effective means to implement user control. Growth in the touch sensing segment is expected to drive the microcontroller market. Nearly 380 million touch panel shipments were recorded in 2009, and this is expected to rise to 660 million by 2015.

China to Drive Growth in the Microcontroller Market

China contributed to 32% of the overall Asia-Pacific microcontroller sales revenue in 2009 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.2% during 2009-2020 in dollar terms. Chinese Microcontroller market will get a boost with the government’s decision to invest $50 billion in semiconductor-related projects.

Smart Energy Management Concerns Drive the Overall Demand for Microcontrollers

Consumer electronics companies are raising the bar in terms of reducing the energy consumption of their products, and this trend is expected to increase the demand for microcontrollers. In order to conserve energy usage in industrial and household applications effectively, sophisticated smart metering systems are required and these can be achieved by incorporating microcontrollers. The requirements for such energy efficient applications are getting increasingly stringent which is further accentuating the need for microcontrollers.

The sales revenue of microcontrollers is expected to reach $22.99 billion by 2020 from 2009, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 5.6% between 2009 and 2020.

Product Differentiation – a Major Concern

Microcontroller manufacturers are investing in R&D activities to differentiate their products with features such as higher speed, lower power consumption, and so on. Microcontroller Units (MCUs) have come a long way in terms of their applications, but product differentiation is always key concern for MCU makers. Many manufacturers are focusing on features such as user interface demand, connectivity needs and high voltage requirements. Renesas, in particular, has been leading the way in terms of technology node innovation and miniaturization and the other players in the MCU industry are playing catch up.

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