IC Insights recently analyzed the reasons for the semiconductor shortage in its latest report, starting with a generally accepted reason for the shortage.

In the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, global auto demand plummeted, and automakers subsequently began closing factories and halting semiconductor orders from suppliers. This is happening at a time when the global population has a surge in demand for cell phones, televisions, computers, games and home appliances. As a result, semiconductor suppliers have shifted their production capacity from automotive devices to devices for electronic systems.

When the auto industry recovered in the second half of 2020, it found that semiconductor suppliers, after shifting production capacity, were unable to meet their new demand, resulting in severe shortages.

However, IC Insights believes that the above is not the main reason for the IC shortage currently impacting the automotive industry.

IC Insights points out that the real reason for the automotive IC shortage is the surge in demand for automotive ICs in 2021, not the inability of semiconductor suppliers to ramp up production.

IC Insights charted a 30% increase in IC shipments from device suppliers to the automotive industry in 2021 compared to 2020 (Figure 1), well above the 22% increase in total global IC shipments last year. In addition, IC shipments in the automotive industry increased by 27% in 2021 compared to 2019.