The semiconductor market is subject to enormous volatility. Due to the pandemic, the demand for semiconductors increased massively in 2021 as a reaction to the home office trend and the resulting purchases of laptops and smartphones. Even though this run has already slowed down a bit, the semiconductor market is still characterized by exponential growth. In the ten years from 2012 to 2022, sales doubled from $250 billion to $500 billion. It will probably only be seven years before the threshold of $1 trillion is reached.
"The global semiconductor market will double to around $1 trillion by 2030. Although the semiconductor market is currently exhibiting typical cyclical behavior, with overcapacities being built up in the short term, the chip rally of recent years is not yet nearing its end," Robert Kraus, Chairman of the ZVEI Semiconductor Division and CEO of Inova Semiconductors, is certain at a ZVEI press briefing.
The delivery times of chips for individual product groups continue to be critical and demand is high. From the point of view of the ZVEI, this will not change in the long term, because the demand for chips - especially in the structural sizes relevant for the automotive and industrial markets - remains unabatedly high. "Both further digitization and the green transformation with its great demand for CO2-reducing technologies are driving this high growth in the long term," says Robert Kraus. In 2022, chips worth around $580 billion were produced worldwide, but only just under ten percent of this in Europe.
All regions of the world that are home to parts of the semiconductor industry are today setting the right course to improve their competitiveness. "Europe, on the other hand, is in danger of being left behind because, among other things, the effects of the EU Chips Act are being felt too late. The fact is that Europe will not be able to maintain its position as a semiconductor region if the necessary framework conditions for investments in Europe are not installed immediately," fears Wolfgang Weber, Chairman of the ZVEI Executive Board. The EU Chips Act was already announced in the fall of 2021. It pursues the goal of doubling Europe's share of the global semiconductor market to 20 percent by 2030. This is intended to contribute to Europe's technological sovereignty.
The benchmark for Europe should be the U.S. Chips and Science Act, which has a volume of about $270 billion. Europe is currently talking about €43 billion to be used for the EU Chips Act, although only a small part of this sum is completely reallocated funding. The EU Commission has so far relied almost exclusively on support from the member states. Without significant additional investment from the public side, including through the application of the announced European Sovereignty Fund, and without investment incentives for the private side, Europe will miss its 20 percent target and further weaken Europe as an investment location, despite the European Chips Act. "Europe now needs a location policy that promotes investment in a targeted manner. The goal must be to develop an internationally competitive microelectronics ecosystem in Europe. To achieve this, the EU must now implement the Chips Act announced well over a year ago with the highest priority and stimulate investment in the semiconductor industry," concludes Wolfgang Weber.