LONDON The three-month moving average of global chip sales came in at $20.14 billion for February, up 1.5 percent from the corresponding month last year, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), and in line with normal seasonal patterns for the industry.
However, the figure represents a drop of 4.9 percent from the three-month average reported for January, when the industry reported sales of $21.48 billion.
"Continued price attrition in DRAMs masked underlying strength in global chip sales in February," commented SIA President George Scalise. "Excluding memory products, worldwide semiconductor sales grew by nearly 10 percent year-on-year. DRAM revenues declined by more than 40 percent year-on-year despite a 43 percent increase in unit shipments."
Average selling prices (ASPs) for DRAMs declined by nearly 60 percent year-on-year. Total unit shipments for all semiconductor products increased by 11.6 percent year-on-year, indicating strength in the end markets, added Scalise.
"Despite a slowing U.S. economy, markets outside the U.S. continued to show robust growth in demand for electronic products that drive semiconductor sales," Scalise said.
The SIA cited reports from JPMorgan and Gartner showing strong sales of personal computers and handsets in international markets. "The Asia-Pacific region, which includes China, has overtaken the U.S. as the largest market for PCs. The Rest-of-the-World, which includes Eastern Europe, Africa and South America, equaled the number of units sold in the U.S. in 2007 and is poised to surpass the U.S. market in PC unit sales this year."
The Association said the growth for handsets in international markets is even more dramatic, especially in the Asia-Pacific region. According to JPMorgan, unit shipments of handsets in the Asia-Pacific region will reach almost 540 million units in 2008 – over three times more than the 161.6 million units they expect will be sold in the U.S.
"High energy prices and turmoil in the U.S. housing market undoubtedly have reduced the discretionary spending of American consumers," Scalise stressed. "While any decline in U.S. consumer spending has an effect on offshore electronics manufacturers, the rapid growth of sales of consumer electronics in other markets is continuing to create opportunities for semiconductor manufacturers," he added.