Semiconductor sales grew incrementally in March 2012

May 2, 2012 — Global semiconductor sales hit $23.3 billion in March 2012, up 1.5% from February 2012 and down 7.9% from March 2011, reports the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA). “Sequential growth resumed across all regions, especially in Europe and Japan, in March,” said Brian Toohey, SIA president. Sales in Europe grew 3.8% in March; Japan increased 1.2%. There were “pockets of relative out-performance,” noted Barclays Capital analysts, such as DSP, MCU, MPU, and NOR Flash. NAND and Logic saw less promising numbers.

Figure. Worldwide semiconductor revenues (year-over-year % change). SOURCE: SIA.

Table 1. March 2012 month-to-month semiconductor sales ($B)
Market Last Month Current Month % Change
Americas 4.41 4.46 1.0%
Europe 2.72 2.83 3.8%
Japan 3.38 3.42 1.2%
Asia Pacific 12.44 12.60 1.3%
Total 22.95 23.31 1.5%

Q1 chip sales reached $69.9 billion, declining 2.2% from Q4 2011 and down 7.9% from Q1 2011 ($75.9 billion). Seasonal moderate growth is expected to continue in Q2, with momentum in chip sales building as 2012 progresses, Toohey said, warning that macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainties could flare and disrupt forecasts. Generally improved macroeconomic conditions are supporting the current outlook, along with increasing semiconductor content in diverse applications, and recovery in the semiconductor/electronics supply chain after Thailand’s late-2011 floods.

Year-over-year comparisons should turn positive in May or June, commented CJ Muse at Barclays Capital. Also read: Chip sector sets up for high demand in H2

Table 2. March 2012 year-over-year semiconductor sales ($B)
Market Last Year Current Month % Change
Americas 4.73 4.46 -5.7%
Europe 3.34 2.83 -15.4%
Japan 3.61 3.42 -5.2%
Asia Pacific 13.63 12.60 -7.6%
Total 25.31 23.31 -7.9%
Table 3. Three-month moving average sales ($B).
Market Oct/Nov/Dec Jan/Feb/Mar % Change
Americas 4.36 4.46 2.2%
Europe 2.78 2.83 1.7%
Japan 3.59 3.42 -4.7%
Asia Pacific 13.10 12.60 -3.8%
Total 23.83 23.31 -2.2%

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

The Semiconductor Industry Association, SIA, represents the US semiconductor industry, with over 60 companies that account for 80% of US semiconductor production. Learn more at

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