July 6, 2009 – Worldwide sales of semiconductors continue to creep up, and some comparisons are starting to look a little healthier — particularly compared with the end of 2008.
Global sales rose to $16.5B in May (a three-month average), a 5.4% climb from April, and down -23.2% from a year ago. That year-on-year comparison has started to slightly improve, as the year-ago period moves toward the beginning of the economic and industry quagmire. Looking at specific regions, all showed another slightly better month vs. a year ago, though all still well in the reds.
Looking at the three-month moving average offers a stronger piece of evidence that current data shows improvement on its own merits. Compared with the Dec/Jan/Feb period, chip sales in March/April/May spiked 16% — Asia-Pacific sales doubled to nearly 29%, sales growth in the Americas rose from 2% to 10%; Europe swung into the black (from -4.6% to 2.6%), and Japan went from a -20% hole to nearly flat (-1%).
How close to point-blank optimism are we? Not quite there, but getting close — enough that SIA president George Scalise sees a three-month trend of improving numbers as reason to be “cautiously optimistic about a return to normal seasonal patterns for the industry going forward.”