20 Oct 2023 -

MCU market surges amid global economic challenges

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Against the backdrop of mounting inflation and looming recession concerns in 2022, the Microcontroller (MCU) market stood out, registering a robust annual revenue growth rate of 25%. This data, as reported by Yole Intelligence in their Microcontroller Market Monitor, underscores the resilience of the MCU sector amid economic uncertainties.

The commendable growth rate is attributed to the rectification of supply chain disparities and a discernible pivot in consumer spending from services to the equipment sector. Notably, despite initial apprehensions regarding potential overstocking by suppliers, the actual demand surpassed these estimations, resulting in a significant growth trajectory during the latter half of 2022.

The MCU market’s performance starkly contrasted with the broader semiconductor industry’s struggles, which grappled with declining consumer spending and oversupply issues. These challenges in the wider semiconductor realm led to reduced average selling prices and overall revenues. Conversely, the MCU sector managed to avoid price reductions, sustaining prices considerably higher than pre-pandemic figures. A 7% decline in the first quarter was quickly offset by a 3% rebound, and predictions suggest a stable growth rate for 2023. Looking further ahead, projections for 2024 hint at modest growth, but the overarching view is optimistic. Forecasts until 2028 anticipate consistent annual growth, oscillating between high single digits and low double digits.

A noteworthy aspect is that microcontrollers dominate the processor market, comprising over 80% of all processors. This dominance is a testament to their integral role in the sector.

Several factors are driving this growth. A pivotal one is an ongoing shift towards electrification, coupled with advancements in vehicle networking and advanced driver assistance systems. Such innovations are propelling the automotive electronics sector, which is the most significant segment within the MCU market. As vehicles become more connected and user experiences evolve, MCUs are increasingly vital in ensuring vehicle safety and security. Additionally, the burgeoning automotive industry in mainland China, especially on the domestic front, heralds promising avenues for MCU suppliers to expand their footprint.

Beyond the automotive realm, the ever-increasing number of connected devices and a focus on crafting smarter edge devices are spurring the demand for high-performance MCUs, integrated wireless subsystems, and security engines. This trend is evident in the rise of secure MCUs. Moreover, while traditional SIM cards for smartphones see a decline, embedded SIM (eSIM) technology is fast replacing them, expanding into a myriad of applications for connected devices, such as Trusted Platform Modules for PCs.

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