The $33.8 billion spent last year on semiconductor capital equipment spending was down 11.5% compared to 2012, according Gartner, Inc.
Wafer-level manufacturing outperformed the market in 2013, on relative strength in dry etch, lithography, manufacturing automation and deposition, the firm said.
Spending was selective, focused on upgrades and latest-technology buys with little addition of capacity. Logic spending focused on preparing for 20nm/14nm (nanometer) production.
Only a few subsegments managed to expand — most notably, steppers in lithography, nontube chemical vapor deposition, conductor etch, rapid thermal processing and furnaces, and select process control segments (such as patterned wafer inspection, defect review and classification).
"A revival of memory-related spending during the year was not enough to stem the decline in equipment sales,” Klaus-Dieter Rinnen, managing vice president at Gartner. “Despite increased foundry investments, logic-related spending was a dampening force. Consequently, manufacturing equipment sales saw slow, sequential quarterly growth, and a fourth-quarter sales explosion was not enough to stop the second straight year of decline."
Applied Materials held onto the No. 1 spot based on its relative strength in deposition and etch. Relative strength in lithography (albeit with limited sales in extreme ultraviolet [EUV]) helped ASML to retain the No. 2 position. Lam Research moved into the No. 3 spot due to its strong performance in etch and deposition. Tokyo Electron, just like other companies headquartered in Japan, was impacted by the significant decline in the yen-to-U.S.-dollar exchange rate, as well as an unfavorable customer buying pattern.