Samsung Electronics and Apple together consumed $53.7 billion of semiconductors in 2013, an increase of $7.7 billion from 2012, according to a report from IT research firm Gartner.
However, the report noted that in order to keep growing, semiconductor vendors need to gain opportunities by accelerating the device commoditization with their intellectual properties and patent portfolio.
Samsung and Apple remained the top semiconductor buyers in 2013, increasing their combined semiconductor demand by 17 percent, while the top 10 companies bought $114 billion of semiconductors, to account for 36 percent of semiconductor vendors' worldwide revenue in 2013, up from $105.1 billion, and 35 percent in 2012.
"Samsung Electronics and Apple have topped the semiconductor consumption table for three years running, with their share of the design total available market (TAM) rising from 12 percent in 2011, to 17 percent in 2013," Masatsune Yamaji, principal research analyst at Gartner, said in a statement. "This increase clearly shows how fast the presence of these two companies has expanded over the last three years and why their decisions have technology and pricing implications for the whole semiconductor industry."
Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo and Dell rounded out the top five semiconductor manufacturers, with Lenovo climbing to No. 4 in 2013 due to its market share growth in the PC market as well as the great success in the Chinese smartphone market.
Gartner projected Chinese electronic equipment manufacturers would continue to grow and therefore increase their semiconductor demand with their growth driven not just by demand from their domestic markets, but also by strong demand from other emerging markets such as those in Latin America and Africa.
Yamaji also said that in order to avoid the fierce price competition from commoditized markets, innovative market leaders are seeking opportunities in new markets such as wearable devices, smart TVs and automotive infotainment.
"This consumer shift has caused a substantial decrease in total semiconductor demand over the last two years because there is far less semiconductor content in a smartphone and a media tablet than there is in a PC," Yamaji said. "In addition, in the total smartphone and media tablet markets, the growth rate for utility/basic models is far higher than for premium models."
In addition, wearable devices as well as Internet of things (IoT) devices are expected to be the next growth drivers for hardware vendors that can offer the required energy-saving technologies and energy-harvesting technologies to realize these applications.