March semiconductor sales rose 13% year-over-year and approximately 3% from February on an adjusted basis led by continued strong demand for consumer electronics products, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association.
The SIA said its three months moving average sales figures showed the chip market expanded to $12.1 billion in March from $10.7 billion in the year-ago month and $11.8 billion in February.
Actual semiconductor sales rose even more strongly on a sequential basis to $14.4 billion in March, up 29% from $11.2 billion in February. In March 2002, actual chip sales were $13.3 billion.
"A number of the products that were weak in February reversed course, showing renewed demand in March," said George Scalise, president of the SIA, in a statement. "The sequential revenue increase we recorded in March, and the 13% year-over-year revenue gain for the first quarter, under trying global geopolitical conditions, demonstrates once again the resilience and strength of this industry."
The Japanese semiconductor market recorded the strongest year-over-year and sequential increase in March with sales rising 34%, to $2.8 billion from $2.1 billion in March 2002 and up 5% from $2.7 billion in February.
Asia-Pacific sales rose 3% sequentially, to $4.4 billion from $4.3 billion in February and up 17% from $3.8 billion in March 2002.
Sales to the Americas plunged 8%, to $2.4 billion from $2.6 billion in March 2002 and were relatively unchanged from $2.41 billion in February.
Sales to Europe rose 11% in March, to $2.5 billion from $2.3 billion in March 2002 and were up 3% from $2.44 billion in February.
The SIA said the latest industry figures confirm its optimism that the market will grow at a double-digit rate in 2003 although at least one analyst countered that the market still faces the twin problem of weak demand and falling prices.
"On a rolling 3-month average, growth decelerated from a 22% to 23% peak in December and January to 18% in February, and a 13% level in March," said Charlie Glavin, an analyst at ThinkEquity Partners, in a report.
"According to our forecast, assuming standard seasonal growth and no further average selling prices erosion, the industry