May 30, 2003 – San Jose, CA – Worldwide sales of semiconductors totaled $12.1 billion in April, 2003, sequentially unchanged from the $12.1 billion in revenue reported in March of 2003, and a 9.7% increase from April 2002 revenue of $11.3 billion, the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) reported today.
“Sluggish global economic growth and the Chinese SARS outbreak caused a deferral of sales in April to future months,” stated SIA president George Scalise. “In the US, an anticipated corporate PC upgrade cycle, expected to add strength to continuing consumer purchases of PCs, has again been pushed back, as executives cite continuing economic uncertainty and reduced visibility.”
In the first three months of the year, the global wireless sector had brisk growth, led by record numbers of new subscribers in Asia and rapid adoption of new functionality. Consumers in China, the world’s fastest growing handset market, purchased 20 million handsets during the first quarter of 2003 or 6-7 million units per month. However, handset sales and production levels in China fell in April as the spread of SARS brought shopping and consumer spending to a standstill, halting temporarily an important source of growth for the global market.
Sales of digital signal processors used in cell phones fell 9.8% during the month, as units fell 11.7%, and flash memory grew less than 1%. Among computer chips, microprocessor revenue fell by 1.3% in April, while DRAM revenue was off 5.1%. Application specific standard products for wired communications grew 6% and optoelectronics grew 2.5%.
“There are some positive indicators in the market,” Scalise said. “Leading-edge capacity utilization reached 97% in April, essentially full capacity, and inventories are at or below target levels. Any pick-up in demand will translate directly to revenue and profit growth.”
Sales in the Asia-Pacific market, the world’s largest with 36% of total chip consumption, were up 11.6% year-over-year in April, and sales in Japan, with a 23% share, rose 28.9%. Sales in Europe, the world’s third largest market with a 21% share, rose 9.7% in April, while sales in the Americas, with a reduced 20% market share, fell by 9.4%, as the electronic equipment industry continues to shift production, design services, and component sourcing to facilities in Asia.