Semiconductor demand declines 8.8% to start 2012, but expect positive drivers

March 5, 2012 — The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) reports worldwide semiconductor sales of $23.1 billion in January 2012, a 2.7% decrease from the month prior, in line with seasonal patterns. The figure was an 8.8% decrease year-over-year, but SIA expects positive demand as 2012 progresses.

All monthly sales numbers represent a 3-month moving average.

Table 1. Month-to-Month Semiconductor Sales (USD Billions)
Market Last Month Current Month % Change
Americas 4.36 4.31 -1.1%
Europe 2.78 2.77 -0.5%
Japan 3.59 3.44 -4.2%
Asia Pacific 13.10 12.66 -3.4%
Total 23.83 23.18 -2.7%
Table 2. Year-to-Year Semiconductor Sales (USD Billions).
Market Last Year Current Month % Change
Americas 4.69 4.31 -8.0%
Europe 3.30 2.77 -16.2%
Japan 3.80 3.44 -9.4%
Asia Pacific 13.63 12.66 -7.1%
Total 25.41 23.18 -8.8%


Table 3. Three-Month Moving Average Semiconductor Sales (USD Billions).
Market Aug/Sep/Oct Nov/Dec/Jan % Change
Americas 4.67 4.31 -7.6%
Europe 3.08 2.77 -10.3%
Japan 3.88 3.44 -11.4%
Asia Pacific 14.17 12.66 -10.7%
Total 25.81 23.18 -10.2%

"A weakened global economy amidst inflation concerns and the European debt crisis continued to affect sales at the start of the year, but there are strong signs pointing to recovery and growth as 2012 progresses," said Brian Toohey, president, Semiconductor Industry Association. Semiconductor sales are expected to improve due to positive demand drivers, an improved U.S. economic outlook, and the resolution of flood-related disruptions in Thailand.  

Analysts at Barclays Capital continue to look for 1Q12 to mark the inflection: Average guidance from semi makers is -3.5% at midpoint, supported by 5-8% average Q/Q CAGR for revenues in 2Q-4Q12 (6-10% ex-Memory). Barclays continues to model semi revenues as flat to 4% growth in 2012. Barclays analysts are "hard pressed to model faster growth for semis," with such gradual macro economic recovery.

Also see: Record semiconductor sales in 2011, 2012 outlook

Figure. Worldwide semiconductor revenues. SOURCE: WSTS.

"While data across all sub-segments came in worse versus December on a Y/Y basis; M/M revenue trends were in line with normal seasonality," noted Barclays. Trends appear worse on a Y/Y basis — there were deteriorating Y/Y trends in the month of January with the rate of decline faster versus December.

Despite recent WSTS membership changes, SIA will continue to publish WSTS data according to the established schedule, relying on accurate and timely data, the association noted. The Semiconductor Industry Association, SIA, a representative of the US semiconductor industry, unites over 60 companies that account for 80% of domestic semiconductor production. Learn more at

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