Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) are semiconductor devices that can be programmed and reconfigured to desired application or functionality requirements after manufacturing. The flexibility of FPGAs makes them valuable for prototyping and testing circuit designs, as well as implementing hardware acceleration or custom logic in a wide range of industries. This article examines the current size and growth projections of the global FPGA market.
FPGA Market Size
The FPGA market was valued at $5.35 billion in 2019. According to most analyst projections, the market is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 9% – 12% between 2020 to 2025, reaching over $8 billion by 2025.
Here is a summary of recent FPGA market size estimates:
|Firm||2019 Market Value||2025 Market Projection||CAGR|
|Stratistics MRC||$5.35 billion||$8.62 billion||~12%|
|Fortune Business Insights||$5.4 billion||$9.1 billion||10.3%|
|Mordor Intelligence||$5.33 billion||$7.9 billion||8.3%|
|Technavio||$4.9 billion||$8.2 billion||10.7%|
The consensus from major market research firms is the FPGA market in 2019 was between $5-5.5 billion, with projected growth to reach $8-9 billion by 2025. This represents a healthy compound annual growth rate of approximately 9-12% over the next 5 years.
Key drivers fueling this growth include:
- Proliferation of IoT connected devices requiring edge intelligence
- Adoption in data centers for hardware acceleration
- Demand for ADAS and autonomous vehicle capabilities
- Aerospace/defense electronics innovation
- Rising complexity of chip designs requiring prototyping
- Expansion of 5G infrastructure dependent on FPGAs
The FPGA market declined in 2020 due to global economic challenges, but rebounded sharply in 2021. Growth is expected to accelerate over the next decade with new tailwinds such as artificial intelligence, networking infrastructure, and advanced driver-assistance systems.
FPGA Market Share
The FPGA industry is highly concentrated, with Xilinx and Intel/Altera comprising 80-90% of total market share:
|Company||Estimated Market Share|
|Microchip (Formerly Microsemi)||5-10%|
Xilinx has held the dominant position in FPGAs for decades. Intel gained significant share after acquiring Altera in 2015, making them a strong second player. Microchip (Microsemi), Lattice Semiconductor, and a few other smaller companies make up the remainder of the market.
The high cost of developing FPGA fabrication processes presents a significant barrier to entry, making it difficult for new competitors to enter and gain share. The technology and IP involved in advanced FPGAs also makes them hard to displace once a supplier is designed into an OEM’s systems. These dynamics contribute to Xilinx and Intel’s continued duopoly control of the industry.
Market Segmentation by Type
FPGAs can be segmented into different categories based on their underlying architecture and capabilities:
SRAM-based FPGAs use static RAM configuration cells to program logic blocks and I/O pins. SRAM allows infinite reconfiguration but loses programmability when power is removed. Mainstream FPGAs from Xilinx and Intel are based on SRAM architecture.
Flash-based FPGAs use nonvolatile flash memory for configuration, retaining functionality without power. This approach has reliability advantages but does not enable modification as freely as SRAM FPGAs. Microsemi (now Microchip) is the main supplier of flash-based FPGAs.
Anti-fuse FPGAs use a one-time programmable method to create permanent connections between logic elements. This provides security and assurance that the FPGA cannot be reprogrammed later. Anti-fuse FPGAs are popular for military/aerospace applications.
SRAM-based FPGAs dominate the market currently with over 90% share. However, new flash and anti-fuse architectures are emerging for different application requirements, and gaining adoption in niches like automotive or IoT.
Market Segmentation by Application
FPGAs are utilized across a diverse range of vertical applications. The major end-use categories are:
FPGAs are widely adopted in data center acceleration for tasks like encryption/decryption, compression, and AI inferencing. Intel and Xilinx both now offer FPGAs targeted for data center usage.
Aerospace and Defense:
The anti-tamper and radiation resistance abilities of FPGAs make them essential for space systems, missiles, satellite communication, and other defense projects. Xilinx and Microsemi(Microchip) have a strong customer base in aerospace/defense.
Wired and Wireless Communication:
FPGAs are crucial for prototyping and implementing the sophisticated signal processing required in modern communications systems. This includes 4G/5G infrastructure, as well as broadband cable and fiber networks. Major customers include Huawei, Ericsson, Nokia, and Cisco.
For industrial control, robotics, and Industry 4.0 systems, FPGAs enable the advanced parallel processing required for precise monitoring and actuation. Lattice Semiconductor targets the value FPGA segment for industrial automation.
FPGAs are increasingly used in driver assistance, infotainment, connectivity, and powertrain systems as cars become more electronic. Xilinx and Intel have growing automotive FPGA sales.
FPGAs have adoption in consumer applications like smartphones, tablets, cameras, printers, gaming systems for purposes like display processing, computational photography, and video encoding.
Test and Measurement Equipment:
The flexibility of FPGAs makes them ideal for implementing the advanced digital protocols and signal generation used in test instrumentation like oscilloscopes and network analyzers. Keysight is a major FPGA customer for test equipment.
This breakdown indicates data center, aerospace/defense, and communications represent the largest current market segments for FPGAs, while automotive and industrial are emerging high growth sectors.
Regional Market Size
Geographically, the Asia Pacific region accounted for the greatest share of FPGA revenue in 2019:
|Region||Estimated Revenue Share|
|Rest of World||~15%|
China is the single biggest country market for FPGAs due to its massive electronics manufacturing base across communications infrastructure, consumer devices, industrial automation, aerospace and automotive. Other major Asia Pacific markets include Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan.
North America remains a significant region for FPGA consumption in aerospace/defense, data centers, and tech R&D. Top countries are the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Europe represents the third largest regional market led by Germany, France, and the United Kingdom.
As Asian countries continue rapid adoption of electronic systems and investment in high-tech research, the region will drive FPGA market growth in the coming decade.
Leading FPGA Companies
Below are profiles of the major FPGA suppliers comprising the market:
The leading global FPGA vendor with over 50% market share. They pioneered SRAM-based FPGA technology starting in the 1980s. Xilinx offers the broadest portfolio of FPGAs for applications from aerospace to data centers. Recently acquired by AMD.
Intel entered the FPGA market after acquiring Altera in 2015. Altera was the second largest FPGA company behind Xilinx. Intel now offers FPGAs based on Altera technology targeted for data center acceleration.
Lattice focuses on the low cost, low power FPGA market. Their “value FPGA” architecture is popular for consumer and industrial devices. Lattice claims the #1 market share for FPGAs under $15.
Microchip entered the FPGA market after acquiring Microsemi in 2018. Microsemi supplies radiation-tolerant FPGAs widely used in aerospace and defense systems.
QuickLogic designs ultra-low power FPGAs aiming at mobile and IoT edge applications. Their “sensing hub” devices integrate sensor processing with analytics.
Achronix is a private startup specializing in high-performance data center and networking FPGAs using an asynchronous “Speedster” architecture.
Xilinx and Intel together have over 80% FPGA market share. Smaller vendors like Lattice, Microchip, QuickLogic, and Achronix compete on specialized capabilities or emerging segments like low power edge devices.
In summary, the global FPGA market in 2019 was approximately $5 billion based on estimates from major analyst firms. Market growth is projected to accelerate over the next 5 years, with the industry forecast to reach $8 to $9 billion by 2025. This represents a strong 9-12% compound annual growth rate over the next several years.
Xilinx maintains dominance with 50%+ market share, trailed by Intel/Altera at 30-40% share. The Asia Pacific region currently represents the largest geographic market for FPGAs, while applications in data centers, aerospace/defense, and communications infrastructure are leading end-use segments. As adoption of FPGAs increases for AI acceleration, 5G, autonomous vehicles, Industry 4.0, and other leading-edge electronics, continued expansion of the FPGA market is expected through the next decade.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the main factors driving growth in the FPGA market?
Key drivers expanding the FPGA market include:
- Acceleration demands of AI, machine learning, and cloud computing
- Development of 5G wireless infrastructure
- Innovation in IoT, edge computing, and embedded devices
- Advances in autonomous vehicles and ADAS capabilities
- Aerospace/defense electronics sophistication
- Rising complexity of chip designs requiring prototyping
- Growth in broadband networks and high-speed communication
What are the challenges facing the FPGA industry?
Challenges for FPGA suppliers include:
- Very high cost of developing new FPGA fabrication processes
- Competition from ASICs for high volume production
- Constant innovation required to match emerging standards
- Migration of hardware acceleration functionality to custom AI chips
- Geopolitical risks that can constrain access to major country markets
Who are the major customers for FPGAs?
Leading customers include:
- Hyperscale data centers like Amazon, Microsoft, Baidu
- Telecom infrastructure firms like Huawei, Nokia, Ericsson
- Aerospace/defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing
- Automotive companies including Tesla, Ford, GM
- Test and measurement equipment vendors like Keysight, Tektronix
- Government research organizations
What new capabilities are being added to FPGAs?
Emerging capabilities recently added to FPGAs include:
- Integrated high-speed transceivers for 100G+ communication
- Embedded ARM cores for hybrid FPGA-SoC architectures
- Digital signal processing (DSP) blocks for speech recognition and vision algorithms
- Hardened AI accelerators for neural network inferencing
- Advanced package integration like 2.5D and chiplet designs
- Multi-chip module approaches combining FPGA fabric with HBM memory
Who are the emerging FPGA startups to watch?
New startups bringing innovative architectures include:
- Mythic – Using analog compute in place of digital logic
- Symplectic – “Neuromorphic” devices mimicking brain structure
- Wave Computing – Dataflow architecture optimized for AI
- Leopard Imaging – Bringing FPGA technology to edge vision applications
- FlexLogix – EFLX eFPGA IP for embedding logic in SoCs