Gartner, a leading research organization, determined Intel ranked as the world’s number one semiconductor vendor of 2020. The Santa Clara, California-based firm made $67.75 billion selling chips last year, up 7.4 percent annually. The corporation also topped the 2019 sales chart because of the unparalleled appeal of its client and server products.
In addition, the organization determined Nvidia experienced the most significant year-over-year expansion, a development prompted by the increased utility of its offerings.
The analysis company also found memory modules accounted for 26.7 percent of worldwide component sales in 2020. The segment’s strong performance, driven by coronavirus-related work-from-home transitions, helped one NAND provider greatly expand their business.
Intel Reigns Supreme
According to Gartner, Intel had a 15.6 percent share of the $466.2 billion 2020 global semiconductor market.
The corporation thrived despite the many challenges the chip sector faced last year because of its operational agility. Having endured virus-related disruptions in the past, it had a Pandemic Leadership Team in place to help it navigate the COVID-19 outbreak. That enabled it to keep its team members safe while maintaining a 90 percent on-time delivery rate in Q1.
The firm’s preparedness kept its ecosystem robust enough to facilitate what became a worldwide embrace of digitalization. It provided hyperscale data center providers with the components necessary to enhance their digital infrastructure. It also supplied the CPUs individuals and businesses needed to adopt the “new normal” of working and collaborating remotely.
Intel also streamlined its business with a few significant divestments and made preparations for its next evolution.
The company sold its NAND and storage business to SK Hynix and its home gateway unit to MaxLinear. Those transactions brought in billions of dollars in capital and freed up operational resources. Both assets will help it realize its newly announced ambitions to become a market-leading contract foundry and semiconductor technology pacesetter.
Nvidia on the Ascent
Although Intel led the pack in overall revenue 2020, Nvidia saw the biggest income growth, expanding by 45.2 percent. The corporation earned $10.64 billion in 2020, making it the world’s ninth-largest semiconductor company by income.
The chipmaker’s phenomenal success last year came about because of societal changes prompted by the coronavirus pandemic. Newly homebound consumers snapped up its GPUs to optimize their PC gaming experiences. Enterprises, research institutions, retailers, and carmakers also purchased its graphics cards in large quantities to improve their artificial intelligence systems.
Online service providers bought so many of its Ampere GPUs, its data center income surpassed its gaming sales in Q2.
Nvidia had a transformational year in 2020, and it is poised to continue its trajectory. The firm moved to cement its status as a foundational technology company by acquiring British chip design house Arm. If that transaction goes forward and its move into the server CPU space succeeds, its 2021 sales might eclipse its prior-year earnings.
Strong Gains for Memory Chip Providers
Gartner found memory chip manufacturer Kioxia Holdings grew its business by 32.5 percent last year, with revenue of $10.37 billion.
On the one hand, the firm’s outstanding performance makes sense in the midst of the broader digitalization trend. As individuals and businesses embraced technology to compensate for COVID-19’s impact, semiconductor sales skyrocketed worldwide. Since the provider is the world’s second-largest flash memory vendor, its outstanding performance is a logical outcome.
Samsung and SK Hynix also experienced double-digit growth last year amid the pandemic-related paradigm shift.
But on the other hand, Kioxia’s expansion exceeded both of its larger rivals in terms of percentage. The firm improved its position despite losing the business of large client Huawei and abandoning its planned IPO. Its first-rate design, logistics, and marketing work paid off in a major way in 2020.
This year, the company will likely experience one of two massive changes. It could go public, which would give it the funding to expand its production capacity and cultivate even more growth. Conversely, it might be acquired by Micron Technology or Western Digital for a reported $30 billion.
Either way, Kioxia’s output will continue shaping the global semiconductor industry for a long time to come.