2013 global GDP to improve
However, the forecast for worldwide GDP in 2013 is 3.2% growth. Though better than 2012, this would still be 0.3 points below the long-term average growth rate. With one month remaining in 2012, there are hints that the economies in China and the U.S. are improving, including stronger housing demand and hiring in the U.S., and accelerating factory output and retail sales in China.Following “industry-average” electronic system sales growth of 6% in 2011, electronic system sales are expected to grow 3% in 2012—half the long-term average, but the improving outlook for global GDP is forecast to help boost electronic systems growth 5% in 2013.The communications category is the only major electronic system segment expected to register better than 6% growth in 2012. Computer sales are estimated to grow only 1% in 2012, down from the 11% growth registered in 2010. In 2013, IC Insights forecasts the communications category will overtake computers as the largest end-use segment—the first time that has happened.Driving this growth are surging smartphone shipments. IC Insights estimates that smartphones will account for 49% of total cellphone unit marketshare in 4Q12, and total smartphone shipments are expected to rise 55% to 750 million units for all of 2012.The prospect of stronger electronic systems growth in 2013 has raised the outlook for the IC market as well. IC Insights’ updated forecast shows the IC market growing 6% in 2013 and improving to an average annual growth rate of 7.4% between 2011 and 2016, more than double the 3.3% average growth for the IC industry in the previous 5-year period (2006-2011).