The global application specific IC (ASIC) market is forecast to grow at a CAGR of more than 17%, reaching $12.13 billion by 2021, according to analysts at Technavio.

Designed to improve the performance of general-purpose CPUs, ASICs are hardwired to do a specific job and do not incur the overhead of fetching and interpreting stored instructions. Smartphones are the largest adopters of ASICs, where they are used for Bluetooth functions, charging system, transmission protocol, speed and better performance.

Technavio analysts said three factors are contributing to the growth of the global application specific IC market: declining average selling price (ASP) of electronic devices, growing demand for customisable ICs and increased use of consumer electronics.

“The decline in selling prices combined with the short replacement cycles of portable electronic devices such as smartphones, wearable, tablets and laptops are creating a high demand for ASICs supporting new features and technologies,” said Navin Rajendra, a lead analyst at Technavio for embedded systems research.

For instance, the smartphone prices were nearly halved during 2012-2016, further adding to the growth of the market. Vendors are introducing application specific ICs to cater to the evolving requirements and technologies of consumer electronic devices.

Likewise, the evolving requirements of manufacturers have given rise to customised ICs, which can be modified and tweaked per the product demand. The rising demand for these customisable ICs from the industrial, automotive, healthcare and other industries will contribute to the growth of the ASICs market over the forecast period, according to the market research firm.

The healthcare sector uses these ICs in different equipment such as electrocardiography (ECG) machine, ultrasound machine, digital X-ray and computer tomography (CT) machine. Also, ASICs are becoming denser with the number of transistors being installed in wafers, increasing its usage in the market.

Meanwhile, the advances in technologies such as touch screen monitors and displays, flat screens, and Bluetooth functions is creating a demand for a greater number of ICs.

“The growing adoption of smartphones and increasing competition among vendors is driving the demand for ASICs. The rising demand has also paved the way for advances in technology used in ASICs, which is further rising its adoption,” said Navin.

Technavio_ASICS-market (cr) Figure 1: ASIC market key drivers and figures (Source: Technavio)