As per the IHS iSuppli OEM Semiconductor Spend Analysis report, Apple is expected to buy nearly $28 billion worth of semiconductors this year, up 15 percent from $24 billion in 2011. The forecast reveals that Apple will dramatically outperform the No. 2 purchaser, Samsung, allowing it to remain the world's top OEM semiconductor buyer - a position it has held on to since 2010.
The table below presents the IHS forecast of the Top-10 OEM semiconductor buyers in 2012, ranked by purchasing revenue.
The report said that Apple has managed to maintain its lead in semiconductor purchasing because of the continuing strong demand for its products, combined with the company's capability to maintain beneficial relationships with more than 150 suppliers which provide components or offer manufacturing and assembly services.
"It's well known that Apple has already conquered the smartphone and tablet segments-but behind the scenes the company is engaging in another kind of conquest: the dominance of the electronics supply chain," said Myson Robles-Bruce, senior analyst for semiconductor spending and design activity at IHS.
"Such a dominant position provides critical benefits, allowing one to dictate semiconductor pricing, control product roadmaps and obtain guaranteed supply and delivery. For Apple, these benefits translate into competitive advantages, letting it offer more advanced products at lower prices, faster and more reliably than the competition," Robles-Bruce added.
According to iSuppli, Apple is expected to increase its chip buying at a rate nearly three times faster than the next-fastest-rising purchaser, No. 8 ranked Canon, which will see a 4.6 percent increase this year.
Of the four major electronics production regions, Apple is expected to achieve the fastest growth in semiconductor purchasing among the Top 10 OEMs in two areas - the Americas and EMEA (Middle East and Africa). The company is also expected to attain the second fastest-growth in a third geography, the Asia-Pacific region, which now is the world's dominant electronics producer. It was only in Japan that Apple lagged among the fastest-growing chip purchasers.
In addition, Apple is also likely to expand its lead in global chip purchasing in 2013, with a growth of 12.3 percent once again leading the Top 10 OEM semiconductor purchasers.