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1 Monster Opportunity in the Global Chip Shortage

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This semiconductor industry leader looks poised to deliver great returns.

If you're following the technology sector or even just the news in general, you've probably heard about the global semiconductor shortage. Chips are being added to more devices, an increase in economic activity as companies bounce back from the worst of the pandemic, and other factors are combining to create significant supply constraints. Business and everyday life will only become increasingly reliant on chips going forward, and ASML Holding (ASML -1.22%) has leading positions in key semiconductor equipment categories that will help it capitalize on this trend.

Let's take a closer look at why this semiconductor equipment leader looks like a great play for benefiting from the current chip shortage and long-term growth of the chip industry. 

Semiconductors will only become increasingly important

In conjunction with the evolution of a wide range of technologies, the chip industry has seen huge growth over the last few decades. The chart below shows the progression of worldwide spending on semiconductors from 1987 to 2022.

As impressive as the industry's growth has been, it's still just getting started. Beyond computers, mobile devices, and data centers, chips are becoming essential components in everything from vehicles to toothbrushes, televisions, and household appliances. ASML management made some projections for the growth of semiconductor market size by category from 2020 through 2030. 

The company estimates that spending on semiconductors for product categories including consumer electronics, industrial electronics, and servers and data centers will more than double across the projection period. Meanwhile, ASML sees spending on automotive chips increasing roughly 236% across the stretch.

In order to overcome the current semiconductor shortage and meet growing demand from here on out, manufacturers are going to need to produce more chips -- and that will require more equipment. ASML currently has more demand than it can meet, but it's gearing up to increase production so that key customers, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing and Intel, can increase their fabrication output. 

ASML is poised to benefit from long-term trends

For decades, ASML and its lithography equipment have played a key role in powering the growth of the global semiconductor industry, and that's not going to change anytime soon. In order to keep up with evolving technological demands, semiconductors will have to become increasingly powerful and efficient by fitting in a greater number of transistors. ASML's proprietary technologies are making this possible, and these essential capabilities make the company a strong pick-and-shovel play for investors looking to benefit from the long-term progression of the semiconductor industry. 

ASML stock currently trades down roughly 21.5% year to date and 30% from the lifetime high that it hit last year. Investors have been shifting away from growth-dependent stocks and generally becoming more risk-averse in recent months, and supply constraints mean that the equipment specialist is missing out on some sales expansion it could have accomplished this year if conditions were ideal. On the other hand, ASML has a rock-solid position in its industry, and its technologies will be central to solving the global chip shortage and driving the long-term growth of the semiconductor market. 

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