SIA April numbers: Growth plods along

July 3, 2011 – Worldwide sales of semiconductors slipped 2.2% in April to $24.7B. Every region gave back some growth vs. March, with expected weakness in Japan (-5.5%) but also a noticeable decline in the Americas (nearly -4%). Based on a three-month moving average, the declines are much worse for Japan (-10%) but about equal for other regions, overall a -2.9% dropoff. Year-on-year, global chip sales are about 4% higher.

Despite the decline, the SIA still expects moderate growth through the rest of the year — though adds the caveat about consumer discretionary spending habits being affected by higher food and fuel costs, affecting overall spending for US manufacturing (including semiconductors). Still, the SIA sees semiconductor growth outpacing the US GDP for the year. (At only ~3.3% GDP, we’d hope so!)

The raw monthly data — not the three-month average — is shakier, showing a M/M dropoff of 17% to $23.5B, slightly worse than the typical seasonal decline, notes Deutsche Bank’s Ross Seymore. Most sectors did better than expected except MCUs, likely attributed to Japan’s troubles. By sector:

  • DRAM: -11% to $3B,  with accelerating unit growth (15% vs. 13% in March) more than offset by sluggish ASPs (-24%, after -22% in March).
  • NAND flash: Sales up 23.6% (vs. 27.7% in March), with weaker units (~20% vs. 28%) but higher ASPs (3.2% vs. flat). 3-mo. average growth -26% (twice what it was in March) on both weak ASPs and units.
  • MPUs: Sales plunged -40% in April (but better than historical -52% M/M), with $2.7B sales. 3-mo. average slipped -4.7% (vs. 6.8% in March) on weak units.
  • Analog: 3-mo. sales 5% with slower unit growth; aggregate sales -8% M/M to $3.6B, better than seasonally typical -18%.
  • Overall, Seymore says the industry remains on track for 5% growth in 2011.

The SIA’s midyear forecast will be issued a few days from now in early June.


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