Buoyed by double-digit growth in the Americas, as well as the DRAM sector, the global semiconductor market posted an 11.4% rise in sales in February, the largest year-over-year increase in more than three years, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association.
Worldwide chip sales reached $25.87 billion in February 2014, compared with $23.23 billion in February 2013, but were 1.5% lower than January 2014 when sales totaled $26.26 billion. The sequential dip, however, reflect "normal seasonal trends," according to the SIA, whose statistics are compiled by the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) organization and represent a three-month moving average.
Analysts at Deutsche Bank, San Francisco, pointed out that February's sequential sales decrease was below seasonality, which averages 3% growth, but still above the firm's estimates of $24.2 billion. With the exception of Flash and analog, all other major segments, including DRAM, MPU, MCU, and DSPs, were in line or above its February estimates.
"2014 has thus far been strong, supporting our view of semi growth accelerating to 8 percent year-over-year," analysts wrote in their latest report on the SIA findings. While the firm's outlook on the semiconductor sector remains Neutral, it is encouraged by the solid start to the year.
The DRAM sector was one of the major catalysts to growth, according to Deutsche Bank. Although February DRAM revenue of $3.27 billion was flat from January 2014 and below typical seasonality of 2% growth sequentially, it was still above the firm's $2.9 billion estimate. Year-over-year, however, February DRAM revenue jumped 47.2%, led by an increase in unit growth that was partially offset by slower ASP growth, according to the report.
"The trend lines remain positive for the global semiconductor industry, which has followed record revenues in 2013 with an encouraging start to 2014," said Brian Toohey, president and CEO of SIA, in a press release. "The Americas market continues to demonstrate impressive growth, while sales in Asia Pacific and Europe also increased substantially year-to-year, and the Japanese market continued its recent rebound."
Regionally, year-to-year sales increased in the Americas (18 percent), Asia Pacific (12 percent), and Europe (9.6 percent). Sales decreased slightly in Japan (-0.2 percent), but February marked the region's smallest year-to-year decrease since August 2012. Sales fell across all regions compared to the previous month, as February sales historically are lower than January sales due to seasonal trends.