32-bit microcontroller shipments forecast to total almost $18bn in 2020

According to findings from the 2015 edition of Semicast’s study of 32-bit microcontrollers, revenues are forecast to grow at a rate of more than 10% a year from 2014 to 2020. Measured in units, Semicast Research forecasts the market to grow even faster, at more than 20% a year over the same period, with annual shipments heading towards 18 billion in 2020.

Revenues for 32-bit microcontrollers are forecast to total more than $13.5bn in 2020, with automotive, industrial and the digital home set to be the leading revenue sectors. The pervasion of wireless connectivity into factories, offices and the home, otherwise known as the Internet of Things, or IoT, is forecast to propel the 32-bit microcontroller market into new territories.

Semicast judges Renesas to have been the leading supplier of 32-bit microcontrollers in 2014, ahead of Freescale, but a notable absentee from the 32-bit microcontroller market is Intel. While Intel was the leading supplier of embedded microprocessors in 2014, it is yet to establish a presence in 32-bit microcontrollers.  Intel has two ways to achieve this, either to purchase an existing supplier of ARM Cortex-M based microcontrollers, or to develop a range of x86-based microcontrollers.

Colin Barnden, principal analyst at Semicast Research and study author, commented, “I had expected Intel to buy Freescale, since this would have taken it into the 32-bit microcontroller market, provided a leading position in automotive microcontrollers and expanded its portfolio of communications processors. However as NXP has purchased Freescale, I instead expect Intel to continue what it started with Atom and Quark and to use its Pentium cores to develop a range of x86-based microcontrollers. If Intel is serious about IoT, it has to establish a presence somewhere in the one-to-five dollar 32-bit microcontroller segment, and soon.”

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