SIA: April chip sales flat

June 2, 2008 – Worldwide semiconductor sales were about flat in April vs. March levels, at $21.2B (+0.4%), and up 5.9% from a year ago, results that “are in line with historical industry patterns,” noted the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), in a statement.

As usual, memory is still dragging down the industry — without it, sales growth would have doubled to 12% Y-Y, the SIA pointed out. Unit sales for both DRAM and NAND increased “significantly” Y-Y, but price attrition caused a -14% slide in total sales.

Geographical analysis shows something of a reversal, with growth strongest in the Americas for a change (1.3% M-M), and the Asia-Pacific region showing mild softness (-0.2%). On a Y-Y basis, Japan pushed to the top (11.3%), followed by the Americas, Asia-Pacific, and Europe.

Sales for the three-month moving average (February-March-April) actually showed a -1.1% decline vs. the previous period (Nov.-Dec.-Jan.). Geographically, Japan showed mid single-digit growth, with the Americas slightly positive and Europe just barely negative, and Asia-Pacific down about -4%.

Through the first four months of 2008, sales are tracking at $82.9B, about 4.3% higher than the same period a year ago, the SIA noted. Surging energy costs haven’t yet had a noticeable impact on consumers’ disposable income, noted SIA president George Scalise, in a statement.

Unit sales of PCs and handsets (the two largest chip demand drivers) “continue to be in line with forecasts,” of 10% and 12% Y-Y growth, respectively.

Citing data from the Consumer Electronics Association, the SIA also noted that there’s yet to be any measurable impact from the new “economic stimulus” payments being handed out by the US Federal Government, which the CEA estimates will spur an additional $5B in consumer electronic purchases. [Assuming a ~22% semiconductor content in electronic devices, that could mean an extra $1.1B in chip sales — about 5% of current monthly levels.]

The SIA plans to issue its revised chip sales forecasts (2008-2010) later this month.


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