Graphics cards: a $12.5 billion market in the first quarter of 2021

Written by Guillaume
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Strong growth in demand, limited supply and skyrocketing prices are the main reasons for the outstanding results of the major graphics card manufacturers.

The health situation that we have been experiencing for over a year now has completely turned some sectors of the economy upside down. In the small world of microcomputing, all segments are affected, but the specific field of dedicated graphics cards is - by far - the most affected by the Covid-19 crisis and its consequences. Let's remember that a dedicated graphics card is a card that you add to your PC in order to boost its power. It is in contrast to the graphics solutions integrated into certain processors and is more likely to be used for large display calculations for 3D modeling or video games, for example.

Over the last ten months, the situation has been extremely tense with widespread shortages affecting all manufacturers and all segments, from entry-level graphics cards to the most powerful models. The production of components for these graphics cards has been disrupted and is also affected by the growing demand from many sectors of the economy: for example, there has been much talk about the needs of the automotive industry. To make matters worse, incentives to telecommute and the appeal of video games in times of confinement have boosted demand that supply obviously could not meet.

TheJon Peddie Research institute has taken a look at the dedicated graphics card issue and published a report that is as complete as it is interesting, telling us first of all that, despite the crisis, the results of companies in the sector are at their highest. In the first quarter of 2021 alone, $12.5 billion worth of dedicated graphics cards were sold, an increase of 370% compared to the previous quarter, which the institute's analysts attribute to the remarkable increase in dedicated graphics card prices (see histogram above).

However, it is not only the price of the products that is to blame, as we have already mentioned, as demand has exploded, more graphics cards have been sold than before. In the first quarter of 2021, 11.77 million units were sold, an increase of 7.77% over the previous quarter and even 24.4% over the same period last year. In this game, NVIDIA is still the undisputed leader, even if AMD's situation is improving: in the first quarter of 2021, AMD has a 20% market share, compared to 17% in the previous quarter.

Note that Intel is not yet present in this market segment. The American is the first supplier of graphics solutions, but it is still exclusively iGPU, solutions integrated with its CPUs. The first dedicated graphics cards signed by Intel were initially planned for release in 2020, but will not be available until the fourth quarter of 2021 or the first quarter of 2022.