Samsung Electronics has experienced a dramatic 96% plunge in operating profit during Q1 2023, primarily attributed to the company’s semiconductor division, which recorded its first loss in 14 years. This analysis delves into the semiconductor market’s present landscape, future outlook, and potential recovery timeline.
The semiconductor industry is no stranger to fluctuations, and the current downturn appears to be more pronounced than previous episodes. A distinct factor that sets it apart is the sharp decline in shipments rather than a dip in unit prices. The memory market has seen several previous troughs, with the latest one occurring in 2019. The present situation, however, seems markedly more severe.
Two critical elements could aid the memory market’s recovery: reduced unit prices and the introduction of 5G services. As demonstrated by historical market data, lower unit prices can stimulate demand. Moreover, 5G technology is poised to become increasingly vital for various services such as autonomous driving and remote healthcare, potentially leading to heightened demand for 5G-compatible devices.
Samsung anticipates that its semiconductor division will regain profitability by the close of 2023. This recovery is expected to be underpinned by actual demand, which could be bolstered by factors like decreasing unit prices and the extensive adoption of 5G services.
It is noteworthy that while it may be challenging to envisage a recovery amidst a downturn, the semiconductor market has consistently managed to rebound and reach new peaks. This cyclical pattern is likely to persist in the future.