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Secure Microcontroller Market to Reach $2.2 Billion

In spite of the volatile global semiconductor industry being plagued by ongoing macroeconomic and political disruption issues, the secure microcontroller (MCU) market should continue to prosper.

While the forecasted total available market has contracted -- especially in the smart home, retail, advertising, and supply chain spaces -- secure MCU shipments will likely be temporarily affected. 

According to the latest worldwide market study by ABI Research, the secure microcontrollers market will grow to reach $2.2 billion by 2026.

Secure Microcontroller Market Development

"In part, this is due to the niche nature of security demand which commands a higher value proposition," says Michela Menting, research director at ABI Research.

In the short term, potential supply chain issues due to trade embargoes and global COVID-19 pandemic quarantines at manufacturing sites will affect availability.

Yet, demand for security, especially in general purpose microcontrollers, will ensure the secure MCU market continues to be a high priority for device OEMs.

According to the ABI assessment, strong market demand will stem from utilities and industrial Internet of Things (IoT), and from smart cities and buildings, notably for MCUs with Trusted Execution Technologies that can securely run mission-critical, and highly sensitive applications at the edge.

Several opportunities will continue to drive demand for secure MCUs. A growing body of policy and regulation supports secure semiconductor investment -- including a range of EU and U.S. tools such as the EU Cybersecurity Certification Framework, the EU Cyber Resilience Act, and the EU Chips and the U.S. CHIPS and Science Act.

Moreover, the demand for secure IoT lifecycle management capabilities, from provisioning and onboarding for cloud and network services to OTA firmware updates and patching, means security IP choice for MCUs become primary product differentiators in an increasingly competitive market. 

The secure MCU market is responding to this continued demand. An increasing number of semiconductor manufacturers have launched numerous new products in the last two years, catering to various IoT device types and use case scenarios.

These semiconductor design and production vendors include Renesas (RA), NXP (i.MX), STMicroelectronics (STM32), Microchip (SAM), Infineon / Cypress (PSoC), among many others.

Outlook for Secure Microcontroller Applications Growth

ABI analysts believe the market has coalesced around Arm Cortex processors, in part due to the  security IP available with TrustZone, but there is growing competition from secure RISC-V, directly challenging Arm dominance.

That said, I anticipate the market demand will continue to advance in sectors that are currently driving the microcontroller market growth -- including the adoption of utility smart meters in smart grid systems, as well as the demand for MCUs in the medical and automotive sectors.

Note, the overall global microcontroller market size was estimated at $18.5 billion in 2021, and was expected to have reached $19.71 billion at the end of 2022.

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