SAN FRANCISCO—The three-month rolling average of global semiconductor sales fell to $22.9 billion in February, down 1.3 percent from January, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) trade group.
February chip sales were down 7.3 percent compared to February 2011, according to the SIA. In the Americas region, semiconductor sales grew 1.1 percent compared to January, SIA said.
"It's encouraging to see that the U.S. posted the third consecutive month of job gains which points to momentum in the U.S. economic recovery," said Brian Toohey, SIA president, in a statement. "However, the global picture bears close watching given the continued sluggish economies in Europe and in Asia."
Toohey said the combination of improved U.S. macroeconomic factors and the sales growth in the Americas region "warrants an optimistic view for growth in 2012."
The monthly sales data reported by the SIA is compiled by the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) organization. The WSTS recently acknowledged that that both Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) stopped participating in the WSTS chip sales data program. WSTS uses forecasting and estimation methods to predict the sales on Intel and AMD, as well as the other companies that do not participate in the program, including Qualcomm Inc. and Altera Corp.
SIA Chairman Rich Beyer, also the chairman and CEO of Freescale Semiconductor Inc., told EE Times last week that SIA was confident it could get Intel to return to the program. Some analysts, including Bill McClean of IC Insights Inc., have suggested that WSTS could report the data differently in order to alleviate any concerns Intel and AMD may have about revealing too much information.
With a continued macroeconomic recovery, SIA expects semiconductor sales to improve this year in part due to positive demand drivers across a range of end markets. As products with improved functionality in mobility, sensing and energy efficiency come to market to meet consumer and enterprise demand, semiconductor sales are expected to continue along the path of long term growth, according to SIA.