Global fab equipment spending will rebound in 2020, growing 20 percent to US$58.4 billion after dropping 19 percent to US$48.4 billion in 2019, according to the Q2 2019 World Fab Forecast update published by SEMI, the global industry association representing the electronics manufacturing and design supply chain.
The 2020 investment increase is a downward revision from the 27 percent growth forecast earlier this year, and the 19 percent drop in 2019 spending is deeper than the previously projected decline of 14 percent. Despite the healthy gains forecast for 2020, fab spending will still fall $2 billion short of 2018 investments.
Memory sector spending alone is expected to account for a disproportionate share of the 2019 falloff, dropping 45 percent, but should stage a strong recovery of 45 percent to US$28 billion in 2020. The 2020 increase in memory investments would mark year-over-year growth of more than US$8 billion and drive an overall expansion in fab spending. However, compared to 2017 and 2018 spending levels, 2020 memory investments will be considerably less if the forecast holds.
In two countertrends to the memory spending falloff this year, foundry sector investments are projected to increase by 29 percent, with micro growing by over 40 percent, fueled by the 10nm MPU launch. It’s important to note that overall micro spending is dwarfed by foundry and memory investments.
The World Fab Forecast update tracks investment projects of 440 fabs and lines from 2018 to 2020. A review of the SEMI data by half year (Figure 1) shows that memory spending will drop 48 percent in the first half of 2019, with investments in sector components 3D NAND and DRAM plunging 60 percent and 40 percent, respectively.
Despite this staggering drop in one sector, overall spending in the first half of 2019 will be partially offset by a 40 percent increase in investments by leading foundries. With MPU its key driver, micro spending is expected to grow 16 percent in the first half of the year and another 9 percent in the second half.
The SEMI World Fab Forecast report covers new, planned and existing fabs as well as fab spending for construction and equipping, capacity expansion, and technology nodes by quarter and by product type with more than 1,300 front-end fab listings. Since its previous publication in February 2019, 192 updates have been made to the report including the addition of 14 new facilities and lines.