Report: Chip Sales Rose Five Percent

Worldwide sales of semiconductors in August rose five percent over July, to $19.1 billion, according to a Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) report. It’s reason for optimism, but not exactly reason to celebrate just yet, as that $19.1 billion is also 16.1 percent below August 2008’s $22.7 billion in sales.

Still, it points to positive signs of recovery. August would typically be a period of preparing for back-to-school, with OEM builds ramping for third and fourth quarter sales. Also, parts buyers have let inventories run low and are now restocking.

But there were other reasons for the growth as well, as the SIA monitors more than just CPU makers. It monitors chip makers that provide parts to the auto industry, for example, and August enjoyed a nice bounce in part due to, of all things, the Cash for Clunkers program.

“Various incentive programs for energy-efficient products, ranging from automobiles to home appliances, have bolstered demand for semiconductors, which deliver critical enabling technology for reducing energy consumption,” said SIA President George Scalise in a statement.

For the year, the industry is still down 21.3 percent, but the rate of decline has stopped and is being reversed now. It had previously been down 25 percent. The three-month moving average, meaning the period of June, July and August, rose 14.7 percent worldwide over the previous three-month moving average from March, April and May.

Sales were up sequentially in all geographic regions, with the U.S. up the most, 5.4 percent, followed closely by Asia/Pacific with 5.3 percent. Japan was at 4.4 percent while Europe grew 3.9 percent.

Scalise noted that sales of netbook computers now account for approximately 17 percent of notebook PC unit sales. Personal computers have become especially attractive to consumers as average selling prices for PCs have declined by around 14 percent while the amount of installed memory has increased by 25 percent during the past year.

Scalise also noted that consumers now account for approximately 50 percent of all PC unit sales.

“Notwithstanding the slow recovery of demand from the enterprise sector, we are encouraged that industry momentum has turned positive following the steepest downturn in more than a decade,” Scalise concluded.

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