Gartner: Apple, Samsung extend their lead as top semiconductor customers

Apple remained the No. 1 semiconductor chip buyer in 2020, representing 11.9% of the total worldwide market, according to preliminary results from Gartner, Inc.

The top 10 original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) increased their semiconductor spend by 10% in 2020, and accounted for 42% of the total market, up from 40.9% in 2019, notes the research group. The top 10 companies in 2020 remained the same as in 2019.

“Two major factors impacted the top OEMs’ semiconductor spending in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and the political conflict between the U.S. and China,” says Masatsune Yamaji, research director at Gartner. “The pandemic weakened the demand for 5G smartphones and disrupted vehicle production, but drove the demand for mobile PCs and video games, as well as the investment in cloud data centers through 2020. Furthermore, a rise in memory prices in 2020 resulted in increased OEM chip spending through the year.”

Apple retained its position as the No. 1 global semiconductor customer in 2020, mainly due to the continued success of AirPods, special demand for Mac computers and iPads, and increasing NAND flash consumption. 

“Increasing demand for mobile PCs and tablets due to working from home significantly drove the production of Macs and iPads through 2020,” says Yamaji. “The company also began its transition to Apple silicon for its Mac product line in the second half of 2020.”

Samsung Electronics remained in second position and increased its spending by 20.4% in 2020, due to weakened competition from Huawei and the strong demand for enterprise solid-state drives (SSDs) for data centers. 

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.