Apple ramped up its spending on semiconductors by more than a quarter in 2017, a new report from Gartner claims.
In the past 12 months, Apple spent a massive $38.754 billion on chips, making it second only to Samsung in terms of semiconductor spend. In 2016, Apple spent “just” $30.39 billion — or 27.5 percent less.
In total, Apple and Samsung remained the top two semiconductor chip buyers, representing a total of 19.5 percent out of the combined worldwide market. Between the two companies, they spent $81.8 billion of semiconductors in 2017, an increase of more than $20 billion from one year earlier.
“Samsung Electronics and Apple not only retained their respective No. 1 and No. 2 positions, they also radically increased their share of semiconductor spending through 2017,” said Masatsune Yamaji, principal research analyst at Gartner. “These two companies have held on to the top positions since 2011 and they continue to exert significant influence on technology and price trends for the whole semiconductor industry.”
A big memory shortage
One big reason for the prices ramping up is a significant price increase on DRAM and NAND flash memory. There was a big shortage of some chips in the year, which wound up driving up memory prices throughout 2017 since companies did not want to risk running out of these essential chips.
Other big semiconductor buyers, making up the top 10, included Dell, Lenovo, Huawei, BBK Electronics, HP Inc., Hewlett Packard Enterprises, LG Electronics, and Western Digital.