International. According to Omdia's latest analysis, Samsung has maintained its position at the top of the semiconductor industry in the fourth quarter of 2021. In a year in which the industry set a new record of more than half a trillion dollars in revenue, Intel managed to maintain its top spot as a leader in annual revenue.
The market surpassed annual revenues of half a trillion dollars for the first time in 2021, capping an extraordinary year for the industry. In addition, about 60% of the companies in the sector grew more than 20% in revenue.
Samsung maintains leadership
The quarterly performance review confirms that Samsung held the top spot as the largest semiconductor company by revenue in the last quarter of last year and generated revenue of $19.995 billion compared to Intel's $19.976 billion. Samsung was also the largest semiconductor company by revenue in 3Q21, taking over after Intel was the largest in 1Q21 and 2Q21.
However, on an annual basis, Intel completed 2021 as the number one semiconductor company by revenue in 2021, with revenues of $76.6 billion, accounting for 13% of all semiconductor revenue for the year. Notably, Intel's revenue growth in 2021 was nearly flat since 2020, contrasting with the next nine major semiconductor companies, which experienced year-over-year (YoY) revenue growth of more than 15%.
Intel's main source of revenue, MPUs, was not a semiconductor component that experienced as strong growth in 2021 as other components. MPUs overall grew 11% year-on-year last year, well below the total semiconductor growth level of 24%.
Samsung ended 2021 just behind Intel, with semiconductor revenue of $75.2 billion, accounting for 12.8% of all industry revenue. Samsung significantly closed the annual revenue gap with Intel thanks to the strong increase in the DRAM market (up 42% in 2021) and the NAND market (up 23% in 2021). Samsung is the number one firm for both components.
Samsung's growth rate of 32.1% last year shows that not all components increased similarly last year. In 2020, Samsung's semiconductor revenue was $19.3 billion behind Intel, but in 2021 it was only $1.4 billion behind.
Record industry revenue
The semiconductor industry's total revenue in 2021 of $586.8 billion was $100 billion more than the next highest year on record, 2018, when the industry generated $484.7 billion. Year-on-year revenue growth in 2021 was 24.2%, the second highest on record since Omdia began tracking the metric in 2002.
Cliff Leimbach, senior research analyst for the semiconductor market at Omdia, noted that the highest year-on-year revenue growth rate on record was in 2010 (34.1%), but this was a year of recovery after a 10.9% decline in 2009 related to the Great Recession.
"The year-on-year growth in 2021 is significant because the previous year was not a year of recovery, but an above-average year with growth of 10.4%," Leimbach said, adding that the long-term year-on-year growth for the semiconductor market is 6.8%. (see illustration).
Fourth Quarter Review
As 2021 was a record year, it was supported by record quarters, and 4Q21 was no exception. The last quarter of 2021 was the fifth consecutive quarter of record revenue for the industry, with quarterly revenue rising to $159.1 billion, up 3.6% from the previous quarter, compared to the long-term historical average of a 0.6% quarter-on-quarter increase in semiconductor revenue.
"Demand continues to be strong in the era of work-from-home brought on by the global pandemic and supply is scarce for many components," said Craig Stice, chief semiconductor industry analyst at Omdia. "Supply shortages across the semiconductor landscape resulted in an increase in ASPs, which helped boost revenue. The resulting strong annual revenue was significantly higher than the historical average, 24.2% vs. 6.8%."