The SEMI Year-end Forecast predicts wafer processing equipment will rise to 10.2% in 2018 to $50.2 billion. The other front-end segment – consisting of fab facilities equipment, wafer manufacturing, and mask/reticle equipment – is expected to increase by 0.9% to $2.5 billion this year. The assembly and packaging equipment segment is projected to grow by 1.9% to $4 billion in 2018, while semiconductor test equipment is forecast to increase by 15.6% to $5.4 billion this year.
In 2018, South Korea will remain the largest equipment market for the second year in a row. China will rise in the rankings to claim the second spot for the first time, dislodging Taiwan, which will fall to the third position. All regions tracked except Taiwan, North America, and Korea will experience growth. China will lead in growth with 55.7%, followed by Japan at 32.5%, Rest of World (primarily Southeast Asia) at 23.7%, and Europe at 14.2%.
For 2019, SEMI forecasts that South Korea, China, and Taiwan will remain the top three markets, with all three regions maintaining their relative rankings. Equipment sales in South Korea are forecast to reach $13.2 billion, in China $12.5 billion, and in Taiwan $11.81 billion. Japan, Taiwan and North America are the only regions expected to experience growth next year.