Research and development expenditures by semiconductor makers grew to a record high of $56.4 billion in 2015, but the pace of growth slowed considerably compared to recent years, according to new research from industry research firm IC Insights.
Semiconductor R&D spending grew just 0.5% last year, the researcher said—the smallest increase since 2009 and well below the compound annual growth rate of 4% over the last 10 years. The top 10 R&D spenders in the industry saw higher growth collectively, averaging 2% for the year.
A variety of factors contributed to the slower growth, including global economic woes and industry consolidation.
“Growing concerns about the weak global economy, slumping sales in the second half of the year, and unprecedented industry consolidation through a huge wave of merger and acquisition agreements weighed on semiconductor R&D spending in 2015,” the researcher said in a statement announcing the findings.
Leading the way in R&D spending is Intel, which accounts for 22% of the industry’s total research and development expenditures. Intel is followed by Qualcomm, Samsung, Broadcom, and the world’s largest wafer foundry, TSMC.
IC Insights’ findings are part of its 2016 McClean Report, released this month.