MCUs Expected to Make Modest Comeback After 2020 Drop, says IC Insights

Economic impact of the Covid-19 virus crisis will cause microcontroller sales to fall the most among major IC product categories in 2020, says Mid-Year Update.

Far-flung microcontrollers used in vehicles, industrial and commercial equipment, home appliances, consumer electronics, and many other embedded systems applications are suffering the most among major IC product categories in the Covid-19 virus health crisis that wrecked the global economy six months ago, according to the Mid-Year Update of IC Insights’ 2020 McClean Report on integrated circuits.  The mid-year forecast shows worldwide MCU sales falling 8% in 2020 to $14.9 billion after dropping 7% in 2019, when the weak global economy lowered the microcontroller market from record-high revenues of $17.6 billion in 2018 (Figure 1).

Figure 1

A modest recovery in microcontrollers is now expected in 2021 with sales rising 5% to $15.7 billion, followed by increases of 8% in 2022 and 11% in 2023, when MCU revenues are forecast to hit the next record-high level of $18.8 billion.  IC Insights’ Mid-Year Update shows microcontroller shipments falling 8% in 2020 to 23.5 billion units after dropping 9% in 2019 and rising 9% in 2018.  MCU shipments are forecast to rebound by 6% in 2021 to 24.9 billion units, followed by increases of 8% in 2022 and 10% in 2023, when worldwide MCU deliveries are projected reach a new record-high of level 29.6 billion.

Ironically, the pervasiveness of microcontrollers in systems is playing against MCUs in the coronavirus crisis, which has crippled most end-use market applications this year.  Computer demand is getting a lift from increased Internet usage by consumers, schools, and businesses in the virus pandemic, but these systems are expected to only account for 4% of MCU sales in 2020.  The Covid-19 health crisis is pulling down the major MCU end-use applications—including automotive, which is expected to account for 40% of microcontroller sales in 2020 ($6.0 billion), and industrial, which is forecast to represent 29% of the revenues this year ($4.3 billion).