Though prices for memory chips are expected to soften in the second half of the year, McClean said he sees the potential for the semiconductor market to grow at a higher rate than the 11 percent growth for the year that IC Insights has forecast.
Neuffer noted that March sales were up sharply compared with last year, but more modestly compared to February.
In fact, at least one Wall Street analyst considered the sequentially increase between February and March to be a mild disappointment. Ross Seymore, a research analyst at Deutsche Bank, said in a research note circulated to customers that a "largely solid" first quarter "concluded with a muted March," reinforcing his concerns that more difficult upcoming year-over-year comparisons in coming months would have an adverse effect on the valuations of semiconductor firms.
Neuffer said year-over-year growth was in the double digits for all regions tracked by the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics organization, which compiles sales data reported by the SIA and others from data provided by more than 50 semiconductor member companies. Sales increase by nearly 27 percent year-over-year in China and nearly 22 percent in the U.S., the SIA said.
Sequentially, all regions saw sales increase expect the Americas region, which decline by 0.5 percent compared with February, according to the SIA.
—Dylan McGrath is the editor-in-chief of EE Times.