Worldwide semiconductor sales rose 6.5% in September to $14.4 billion, up 5.9% from $13.56 billion in August — the seventh consecutive monthly increase and the biggest monthly percentage change in over a decade, according to data from the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA). August’s month-to-month sales were upwardly revised by about 1.5% in every global region except Europe, which was basically flat. For the third quarter, worldwide chip sales were $43.3 billion, a 13.7% increase over 2Q03 and a year-on-year increase of 17.5%.
PC components, which comprise 30% of the end market for semiconductors, continued to see excellent growth — DRAMs were up 33.2%, with MPUs up 23.9%. A major cause was a 7.2% rise in GDP in the third quarter, thanks to record consumer outlays (up 6.6%) and strong business spending in computers and software (up 15.4%, double the increase in 2Q03). Flash memory grew 27.2%, and DSPs were up 20.3%, thanks to strong growth in cell phones, which account for 12% of end-market demand. For consumer technologies (17% of the end market), optoelectronics were up 14.6% and ASSPs up 17.2%.
The figures “confirm that demand in the global semiconductor market is rising briskly,” said SIA president George Scalise. Performance was strong in all major market sectors, including computation, communications, and consumer, “indicating a solid, continuing, and broad-based growth cycle,” he said.
Compared with August, sales were up between 4.6-8% in every geographic region. For the three-month moving average, sales in the Asia-Pacific region were up 19.1%, after a 6.4% increase in August. Europe was up 12% (it was 3.6% in August), followed by 11% in Japan (1.6%) and 8.6% in the Americas (2.4%). “Solid growth across all four geographic markets positions the industry for revenue growth exceeding 10% in 2003, followed by stronger double-digit growth in 2004,” said Scalise.
Year-on-year, regional sales were especially encouraging for the Asia-Pacific region (24.4%), Jap! an (18.8 %), and Europe (17.3%). Even sales in the Americas, which showed flat year-on-year growth in August, were up 4.5% for the comparative September-September period.