SAN JOSE -- The chip market sizzled in April, setting a record high $15.2 billion in sales for the month, according to data released today by the Semiconductor Industry Association here.
The SIA's monthly sales report shows April chip revenues increasing 35.6% from $11.2 billion in April 1999, based on a three-month moving average. The $15.2 billion sales figure for April 2000 was 1.4% higher than $15.0 billion recorded in March, said the SIA.
"April sales show continued industry growth and are surpassing our expectations for 2000," said George Scalise, president of the U.S.-based trade organization, which is slated to release is revised forecast for chip sales next week. "Coupled with strong PC sales, industry growth is being driven by an explosion of worldwide demand for cellular phones, and the wireless communications infrastructure," Scalise said. "While PCs and consumer electronics have strong seasonal demand trends, cellular phones are in demand year round."
A number of market research firms have recently increased their worldwide forecasts for semiconductor sales growth in 2000. At the start of this year, most market observers believed chip sales would grow between 18-25% over 1999, but strong unit demand and the prospects of IC shortages have caused most forecasters to hike their original outlooks.
For instance, Dataquest Inc. in San Jose now says worldwide chip revenues will increase 31% to $222 billion over sales in 1999 because of higher memory growth (see May 24 story). IC Insights Inc. last month increased its forecast to 32% growth in 2000 because of the likelihood that average selling prices will soon start to rise, said analyst Bill McClean, president of the Scottsdale, Ariz., research firm
(see May 18 story)
The SIA today said strong growth in chip revenues is being fueled by cellular phone shipments, PC demand, consumer product sales, and electronic-commerce over the Internet. The trade group also noted that flash memory and digital signal processing segments were especially hot in communication applications. Flash revenues jumped 193% in the first fourth months of 2000 compared to the same period last year, according to the SIA.
Semiconductor sales in the Asia Pacific market grew 46% to $3.89 billion in April compared to $2.66 billion in the month last year, said the SIA report. The region's sales were up 1.6% from $3.82 billion in March, based on the three-month moving average.
In Japan, chip revenues grew 41.1% to $3.43 billion in April compared to $2.43 billion in the month last year. The SIA said Japan's chip sales rose 2.2% from $3.35 billion in March.
Chip sales in the Americas were up 25.7% to $4.57 billion in April vs. $3.64 billion in April 1999, said the SIA. Compared to March, American chip sales were up 0.7% from $4.54 billion in the previous month.
Europe's semiconductor revenues jumped 33.6% to $3.32 billion from $2.48 billion in April 1999, said the SIA report. Sequentially, Europe's chip sales were up 1.1% from $3.28 billion in March, based on the three-month average.