LONDON Ė The three-month average for global chip sales was $24.74 billion in December, down 3 percent from a revised November figure of $25.51 billion, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA).
As a result, global chip sales for 2012 reached $291.6 billion, a decrease of 2.7 percent from $299.5 billion in 2011. Total sales for the year were slightly above the $290 billion predicted by the World Semiconductor Trade
Statistics (WSTS) organization in November. WSTS forecasts the global chip market will grow by 4.5 percent in 2013.
The December averaged number came in below the $25.2 billion forecast of Bruce Diesen, analyst with investment bank Carnegie AS. It was, however, up 3.8 percent on the equivalent figure in December 2011.
The November 2012 sales figure was revised downward from $25.73 billion by the WSTS.
Monthly data is given by the SIA as a three-month average, although the source of the data, the WSTS organization, tracks actual monthly data. The SIA and other regional semiconductor industry bodies opt to use averaged data because it smooths out the actual data that typically show troughs at the beginnings of the quarters and peaks at the ends of the quarters.
"Recent momentum, led by strength in the Americas, has the industry well-positioned for a successful 2013," said Brian Toohey, CEO of the SIA, in a statement.
Logic was the largest semiconductor category, reaching $81.7 billion in 2012, a 3.7 percent increase compared to 2011. Microprocessors ($60.2 billion) and memory ($57 billion) rounded out the top three segments, but both lagged behind 2011 sales totals. Optoelectronics was the fastest growing market on a yearly basis, increasing 13.4 percent in 2012 to reach $26.2 billion for the year. NAND flash grew at the second-fastest rate of 4.1 percent to reach $25.4 billion in 2012.
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Global three-month averaged chip sales for December 2012 by region in U.S. dollar billions.
Regionally, the Americas continued to show signs of strength, increasing sales by 12 percent in 4Q12 compared to 3Q12. Sales in Asia Pacific during December also increased compared to the same month in 2011 (6.7 percent), while sales in Europe fell by 5.5 percent and in Japan sales decreased by 11.2 percent over the same period.