The latest Gartner figures are out, and this time we'll be looking at the global semiconductor market as a whole for 2011. The estimates vary slightly from those released by fellow researcher IHS iSuppli last month, but they share a common theme: Intel (NAS: INTC) is king.

Gartner's estimates show that the overall market inched higher by 1.8% to $306.8 billion last year, while the top 25 players outpaced the broader market and grew their collective chunk. The caveat to this growth is that much of it was attributed to mergers and acquisitions.

Microprocessors showed particular strength, growing 14.2% as average selling prices, or ASPs, were on the rise. Servers and PCs helped drive demand, and the PC microprocessor market saw some upside from graphics integration.


Here's how some of the noteworthy players stacked up.

2011 Rank

Company

2011 Revenue

2011 Market Share

1 Intel $50.7 billion 16.5%
2 Samsung $27.4 billion 8.9%
4 Texas Instruments (NYS: TXN) $11.8 billion 3.8%
6 Qualcomm (NAS: QCOM) $10 billion 3.3%
7 STMicroelectronics $9.6 billion 3.1%
9 Micron Technology (NYS: MU) $7.6 billion 2.5%
10 Broadcom (NAS: BRCM) $7.2 billion 2.3%

Source: Gartner (April 2012).

For reference, here are those same companies in iSuppli's ranking.

2011 Rank

Company

2011 Revenue

2011 Market Share

1 Intel $48.7 billion 15.6%
2 Samsung $28.6 billion 9.2%
3 Texas Instruments $14 billion 4.5%
6 Qualcomm $10.2 billion 3.3%
7 STMicroelectronics $9.7 billion 3.1%
9 Micron $7.4 billion 2.4%
10 Broadcom $7.2 billion 2.3%

Source: IHS iSuppli (March 2012).

The estimates and rankings are pretty similar, with some differences along the way. Intel and Samsung are the clear powerhouses in the industry and lead by a healthy margin. Gartner notes that Intel has maintained its top dog spot for the 20th consecutive year, with last year representing its highest market share ever (a slightly different conclusion from iSuppli).

On the mobile front, Qualcomm continues to lead as it grows smartphone market share. The company outperformed the broader market by far in terms of growth. Qualcomm remains my favorite growth pick of the litter as having the most exposure and leadership in mobile, especially since the smartphone- and tablet-bound semiconductor markets combined are estimated to reach $77 billion in a matter of years.

Component plays are among the most promising ways to play The Next Trillion-Dollar Revolution. Get this free report to find out another company that has promising prospects powering the devices of the future from the inside. It's free.

At the time this article was published Fool contributor Evan Niu holds no position in any company mentioned. Check out his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel and Qualcomm. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Intel. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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