ELECTRONICS.CA PUBLICATIONS, the electronics industry market research and knowledge network, announces the availability of a new report entitled "Microcontroller Market Tracker. Quarterly Report".

Microcontrollers are one of the most versatile products in the semiconductor market. They are found in all five market segments and in several product families spanning from 8-bit products to 32-bit processors used in high end embedded applications. The microcontroller market is forecast to reach over $16 billion worldwide in 2011 and is predicted to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 9 percent over the next five years.

This tracker provides forecasts for revenue, shipments, and ASPs for all microcontroller products and includes a regional analysis, application consumption analysis, and market share.

Current Trends

• The Asia Pacific region is the largest and highest growth market for microcontrollers, and the Chinese automotive industry has been identifed as a major driver.
• Over 80 percent of microcontrollers revenue comes from industrial and automotive market applications.
• Automotive MCU revenue comes from powertrain and airbag control units primarily.
• A majority of industrial MCU revenue comes from IC cards.
• The higher resolution 32-bit microcontrollers are showing the most growth in units shipped, but there are considerable opportunities to be found for the lower resolution products as well.
• As a result of its recent merger with NEC, Renesas has become even more dominant in the microcontrollers product area, perhaps owning up to one-quarter of the market now.

The Asia Pacific region is the largest and highest growth market for microcontrollers, due to the expansion seen in most electronics segments, although the automotive industry in China has been identifed as a major driver of revenue.

From an application market perspective, Asia Pacific has strong growth opportunity for automotive microcontrollers as this market is growing significantly in comparison to other more mature markets in this region, noteably computers and consumer product markets. Europe continues to lead in share for automotive microcontrollers, but the market in Asia is expected to continue to close the gap and eventually bypass Europe.

According to government statistics, the two months of September and October 2010 saw seasonally higher automotive sales in China. Just over the past couple of months there have been about three million light vehicles sold in this area, showing a month-to-month growth of 31 percent based upon shipments. At this pace, the vehicle sales for the full year will likely approach 18 million units. Looking ahead into 2011, there have been several auto manufacturers that have slowed down production going into the Chinese market in order to reduce or eliminate dealer inventory. These manufacturers include Japanese-based companies Nissan, Toyota and Honda, along with makers of luxury segment vehicles including Audi, BMW, and Mercedes Benz.

A recently released government study show that the value of the Chinese automotive electronics market will approach $50 billion by year 2011. In the development of automotive electronics for next generation vehicles, collaboration between organizations will be very important. For the Chinese market, domestic manufacturers will likely be working with the government and there will likely be some alliances between Mainland Chinese and Taiwanese automotive electronics companies. The major microcontroller suppliers to the Chinese market include Renesas, Microchip, Infineon, and Freescale.

Market Trends

Growing industrial opportunities for microcontrollers are concentrated in the medical, test & measurement, process control, and IC cards segments. The growth in medical is coming from demand for portable equipment used at home. Smart IC cards are being widely utilized by governments and private sector companies primarily for ID, financial services, and access management.

Automotive market applications like powertrain, especially with regard to hybrid and electric vehicle technology, and airbag control units are substantial contributors to microcontrollers revenue. Infotainment is another area of interest to microcontroller designers. Aside from the two major application consumption markets, microcontrollers are also commonly being used in white goods (major home appliances), computer hard drive and printer/scanner peripherals, and in wired optical networking equipment.

Market Highlights

• The strongest drivers of microcontroller sales into the automotive market are specifically powertrain and safety applications like airbag control units.
• Computer peripherals are responsible for a significant amount of market consumption for microcontrollers, including the latest hard disk drives and printing/scanning devices.
• In consumer electronics, white goods such as major home appliances contribute over one-third of microcontrollers revenue for the segment, because of traditional usage and the current interest in providing more advanced features.
• Wired networking equipment generates a majority of microcontrollers revenue for this segment, most of which comes from 32-bit products. Many applications use special purpose microcontrollers, which are found in the DSL and other broadband networking markets. Other opportunities are in touch screen designs for smart phones.

Details of the new report, table of contents and ordering information can be found on Electronics.ca Publications' web site. View the report: Microcontroller Market Tracker. Quarterly Report