SAN JOSE, Calif., 3 March 2008. Global sales of semiconductors took their seasonal dip in January, down 3.6 percent from December to $22.28 million, but roughly flat with a year ago, according to the latest data from the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) in San Jose, Calif.
"Virtually all product lines and all geographic markets experienced slightly lower sales in January," says SIA president George Scalise. Still, memory ASPs continue to erode due to ongoing pricing pressures (and despite modest growth in unit shipments (DRAM and NAND flash), which dents revenues. Without the memory segment, semiconductor sales rose 8.1 percent from a year ago.
Unit shipments of PCs and cell phones, which together represent about 60 percent of worldwide semiconductor sales, were in line with expectations, on pace for about 12 percent and 12 to 15 percent annual growth in 2008, respectively, according to the SIA.
All regions saw slowing chip sales in January, but for once the Asia-Pacific was not the brightest spot. Compared with December, Europe had the "best" growth with just a 2.5 percent decline, followed by Asia (down 2.7 percent) and Japan (down 4.8 percent), with the United States once again lagging the pack (down 5.6 percent).
Year-on-year, Japan was the only region to show any significant growth (8 percent), with Asia-Pacific essentially flat, Europe down slightly (down 1.2 percent), and the U.S. trailing well off the pace (down 6.9 percent).
Continued worries about a sluggish U.S. economy remain a concern, insofar as its potential impact on consumer spending trends. "The US economy has entered a period of slower growth that may impact consumer purchases of electronic products," Scalise noted. "However the emergence and growth of large consumer markets outside the US has created new opportunities for chip makers."