Apple is in a position to overtake Samsung as world's top chip buyer

Apple's strong iPhone sales means that the company has to buy more semiconductors

One indicator of healthy mobile device or PC sales is the amount of money a company spends on chips that go into those devices.

So it should come as no surprise that Apple was the world's second largest chip buyer last year, spending over US$29 billion, up by 7.1 percent compared to 2014, according to a study released by Gartner on Wednesday.

Apple is now in a position to reclaim its position as the top chip buyer from Samsung, which spent $29.87 billion last year, a 3.6 percent decline.

A lot of the semiconductors were purchased for the iPhone, iPad and Macs. Apple tends to buy in bulk to get better pricing on components.

But it isn't easy for Apple to pass on savings from bulk chip purchases to its mobile device and Mac buyers as it spends a lot on research and development, said Masatsune Yamaji, principal research analyst for Gartner.

Market followers can copy the innovative products and spend less on research and development, Yamaji said.

Apple purchases a portion of its A9 processors from Samsung, which fabricates the chips. Samsung makes chips for other companies  as well as for its own smartphone business. Yamaji said Samsung's chip and smartphone companies were separated for the study.

Apple is the world's second largest smartphone vendor behind Samsung, but its shipments are growing at a faster rate, according to an IDC study released on Wednesday.

Samsung's shipments in 2015 were 324.8 million, growing by just 2.1 percent compared to 2014. Apple's shipments went up by 20.2 percent to 231.5 million in 2015.

The world's third largest spender on chips was Lenovo, whose smartphone and PC shipments also went up in 2015. Dell and HP were in the fourth and fifth spots respectively as chip buyers.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?