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Samsung topples Apple as the largest chip buyer in 2012

A new Gartner report has shown that Samsung has pulled ahead of Apple in the total amount spent on semiconductor chips in 2012.
January 23, 2013
semiconductor chip

Maybe you’re sick of the tit-for-tat between Apple and Samsung, or perhaps you love seeing two rival companies constantly one-upping each other at virtually anything they can. Either way, a new Gartner report out today has shown that Samsung has pulled ahead of Apple in the total amount spent on semiconductor chips each year.

Whilst this data accounts for chips used in the manufacturing of all product types, not just smartphones or tablets, it gives us an accurate picture of just how many products each company is pumping out each year.

Back in 2011 the two companies were roughly equal in yearly chip spending, Samsung paid out $18.6 billion and Apple coughed up slightly more with a grand total of $18.8 billion. Those are pretty hefty numbers, but this year both companies have managed to eclipse their previous totals; Samsung spent a $23.9 billion and Apple lagged a bit behind with $21.4 billion worth of chips purchased in 2012.

According to the research group, Samsung brought nearly 29 percent more chips than in 2011, and accounted for 8 percent of the entire world market. Apple on the other hand increased chip spending by 13.7 percent and amassed 7.2 percent share of market purchases. Between the two companies, they brought over 15 percent of all semiconductor chips sold last year.

gartner report semiconductor chip

To put this in perspective, rival smartphone manufacturers Sony and LG Electronics only have a 2.7 and 2.0 percent share of chip spending, respectively. Even combined, they don’t come close to the market shares of either Apple or Samsung, which is pretty remarkable considering Sony manufactures a much wider variety of electronic goods than Apple does.

Overall semiconductor demand fell by 3 percent from the previous year, yet Samsung and Apple both managed to significantly increase their shares in a slightly contracting market. We can safely conclude that both Samsung and Apple managed to consolidate their leads as the industry’s top manufacturers last year.