Power ICs: a $21B market evident in all applications

An article written for SEMICONDUCTOR DIGEST by Ana Villamor, PH.D., Team Lead Analyst, Power Electronics at Yole Intelligence, part of Yole Group – In our daily life, we are always using devices or tools in which Power Integrated Circuits (Power ICs) are mandatory for good operation. Power ICs are used in almost all electric and electronic systems, from consumer to aerospace, with different requirements for each application. Power ICs are used to manage, control, and monitor power within these applications. The number of power ICs per application follows the technological evolution: the more sophisticated the application, the higher the number of power ICs (FIGURE 1). There are several types of power ICs, among them multichannel Power Management Integrated Circuits (PMICs), DC/DC Switching regulators, Battery Management Integrated Circuits (BMICs), linear regulators, supervisors, sequencers, voltage references, and many others.

A growing market with several disparities

The total power IC market is expected to reach more than US$25.5 billion by 2026, with a CAGR of 3% between 2020 and 2026 [1]. This growth hides several disparities as not all power IC markets grow at the same rate, and the drivers may be different from one type of power IC to another. Yole Développement (Yole)’s analysts have noticed that the power IC market was extremely resilient over the last two years despite COVID-19, and this market saw year-over-year growth of almost 1.5% between 2019 and 2020 as the consumer demand increased hugely.

A closer look at Power ICs reveals that four main types represent today about 70% of the total power IC market: multichannel PMICs, DC/DC switching regulators, linear regulators, and BMICs.

The multichannel PMIC market was more than US$4.5 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach about US$5.3 billion by 2026, with a CAGR of 2.6% over this forecast period. This type of component includes several DC/DC converters and linear regulators within the same package. Therefore, it is not surprising that they are mainly used in applications where size matters, such as smartphones and ADAS, to power several independent loads with different voltage and current requirements. Multichannel PMICs represented 21% of the Power IC market in 2020. Players such as Apple, Qualcomm, Intel, and Samsung S.LSI are very strong in this market, which addresses the greater part of smartphone manufacturers. DC/DC switching regulators make up the second largest component market, with about 17% market share in 2020. This market was more than US$3.7 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach about US$4.5 billion by 2026, with a CAGR2020-2026 of 2.9%. There are several types of DC/DC switching regulators, and the buck converter is the most used, mainly to step down an input voltage to a required output voltage. DC/DC switching regulators are used in almost all applications where the ratio between the available voltage and required voltage is high.

Another type of component that is growing tremendously is the BMIC, which is driven by electrification of transport and batteryfication of power and medical tools. With a 14% market share, it represented the third largest power IC market in 2020. Finally, linear regulator components are widespread in all applications, and it is in the fourth position with 13% of the market in 2020. They are mainly used to power devices with very low voltage requirements, and are highly sensitive to noise… Read the full article.