2023 Annual Report

Damir Akhoundov
ERAI, Inc.

In 2023, ERAI reported a total of 786 suspect counterfeit and nonconforming parts showing a slight increase over the previous year. The significant drop in numbers seen in 2020 and 2021 were most likely the result of supply chain shutdowns triggered by the COVID pandemic. The number of parts being reported to ERAI has been increasing the last two years despite a downward dynamic in global semiconductor sales.

Reported Parts vs. Global Semiconductor Sales 2005-2023

We examined the types of parts that were reported to ERAI in 2023 and compared it to the last 5 years’ as well as the last 10 years’. In 2022 we can see that the distribution of the most counterfeited component types continued following the overall trends throughout the last 5 and 10 years with Analog ICs, Programmable Logic ICs and Microprocessor ICs remaining the most targeted component types and consisting of more than half of all reported component types. The small number of reported capacitors supported last year’s conclusion that the shortage-related spike in counterfeit capacitors has ended with capacitors contributing to just 0.5% of the overall reported parts in 2023 compared to 6.72% over the last 5 years.

Types of Electronic Components Reported to ERAI in 2023

Part Types Reported in 2023 vs. Last 5 and 10 Years Periods

When examining the trend chart of the most targeted component types over time, we observed that the spike in Analog ICs we observed in 2022 did not continue in 2023. However, Analog ICs remained the most reported component type. Microprocessor ICs, Memory ICs and Programmable Logic ICs all displayed moderate growth.

Reported Part Types

When examining the manufacturers’ brands marked on parts reported to ERAI, we noted that Texas Instruments remained the brand most targeted by counterfeiters (9% of all parts reported) with Xilinx being the second most targeted brand. While the overall list of manufacturers most frequently targeted by counterfeiters remains largely unchanged from previous years, there is a notable change with the absence of Murata, which was the most counterfeited brand in 2019 due to the above-mentioned capacitor shortage.

Top Manufacturer's Brands Reported in 2023

Manufacturers of Parts Reported in 2023 vs. Last 5 and 10 Year Periods

A new metric for 2023 is the availability status of a component at the time of detection of a nonconformance. The objective was to determine if parts were more likely to be counterfeited if the parts were obsolete (no longer available via authorized sources), EOL (End of Life) or NFND (Not For New Designs), or allocated (active parts with long manufacturer lead time). ERAI often hears that if a part’s status is active, it is less likely to be counterfeited as counterfeiters target mostly obsolete parts. Looking at the numbers for 2023, it appears that, while obsolete parts were, in fact, the most often counterfeited (45.7%), active components that had long manufacturer lead times were not too far behind (32.8%) and, moreover, active readily available parts contributed to 13.2% of the total parts reported in 2023. This indicates that although a part’s status is active, the part does not necessarily have a less risk of being counterfeited. ERAI strongly encourages performing all recommended levels of testing on all parts, including testing against a known good device, for parts purchased anywhere other than part’s manufacturer or manufacturer’s authorized distributor with full traceability.

Parts Availability Status At Time of Reporting (2023)

Analysis of parts previously reported by ERAI revealed that most of the parts reported in 2023 (75.8%) were new occurrences that had not been previously reported to ERAI. A total of 13.5% of parts had been previously reported once to ERAI and 10.7% of parts were reported to ERAI multiple times over the years. This once again emphasizes that a part is not less likely to be counterfeited if it has not been previously reported by ERAI. While previously reported parts may prompt a higher level of scrutiny, all parts not purchased from the original component manufacturer or authorized distribution must undergo risk-appropriate testing.

New vs. Previously Reported Parts in 2023

The next data set is the geographic location of the parts’ suppliers in cases where the supplier information was available. In the past, more than half of the known suppliers of nonconforming parts were located in the US with China being a distant second. In 2022, among known suppliers, those from the US and those from China were in a virtual tie. In 2023, the distribution looks similar with China (27.1%) coming a very close second to the US (32.5%). When taking a more global view of reported components with a known supplier, we see the majority (47.8%) of parts originated from Asia, 36% from North America and only 16.3% from Europe. The overall numbers were consistent with those from 2022.

Geographic Location of Known Supplier of Parts Reported in 2023

We further looked at the entities that reported parts to ERAI. 41.3% of parts were reported by companies located in the US, while 58.7% of reports came from international sources, illustrating that counterfeiting continues to be a global epidemic.

Domestic vs. International Entities Reporting Parts to ERAI in 2023

A closer look at organizations that report to ERAI shows that the largest segment of reporting is by Independent Distributors (63.5%), with Test Labs being a distant second (17.8%). Of significance in 2023 is the number of parts reported by Authorized Distributors greatly increased (9.6% vs. less than 1% in 2022); however, reporting by manufacturers (OEMs, OCMs and CMs) decreased to 3.6%.

Types of Entities Reporting Parts to ERAI in 2023

In summary, 2023 results continued the trends seen in 2022’s “post-COVID transition year”. There were no significant changes to the trends seen in previous years. The key takeaway of 2023 was the confirmation that active parts are in no way inherently “safer” than obsolete parts.

As always, we would like to thank those organizations that routinely share data with ERAI. We highly encourage all companies to report suspicious parts to ERAI to ensure all organizations in the electronics industry are aware of potential threats. Parts can be reported to ERAI by anyone regardless of ERAI membership. To report high risk or suspect counterfeit parts to ERAI, please e-mail a copy of your internal failure report or third-party test report (supplier or customer information can be removed at your discretion) to reportparts@erai.com. The ERAI staff will extract the required data and protect your anonymity. You can also submit reported part information through our online reporting interface at https://www.erai.com/submit_high_risk_part.

If you have any questions or would like to see any statistical data that has not been covered in this report, please contact Damir Akhoundov at damir@erai.com and we will do our best to provide the information to you.