This article is intended to explore what drives semiconductor test equipment sales cycles. Are the cycles of the past gone forever? Are we in a period where seasonality rules the day? Are there any opportunities for sustained growth? What should companies be doing in this 'new normal'?
If you are going to try and figure out where we might be in a cycle the first thing you have to evaluate are the levels of influence of the different variables. The overriding factor influencing the semi cycles has been the transition from an industry that in the 1980s and 1990s was driven by corporate investments in computers and telecommunications to a shift in the early 2000s of an industry driven primarily by the consumer. This shift has increased the consumption of semiconductors to astronomical unit volumes while at the same time creating a constant pressure on manufacturers for smaller, higher performance, less expensive products.