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Worldwide demand for microchip products ramps up
Friday, 09 October 2009 00:00

SAN FRANCISCO—Encouraging news on the global high-tech front surfaced late last week as sales of semiconductors surged at the end of the year’s third quarter.

According to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), sales in August were $19.1 billion—an increase of 5 percent from July 2009 when sales were $18.2 billion.

“Continuing recovery of consumer spending led the sixth-consecutive month of sequential growth in semiconductor sales,” said SIA president George Scalise. “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.

The news coincided with signs that air cargo demand is ramping up in the Asia Pacific—a major trade lane for chip commodities.

Sales declined 16.1 percent from August 2008, when sales were $22.7 billion. Sales were up sequentially in all geographic regions. Year-to-date sales through August are down 21.3 percent to $133.8 billion from $170.1 billion at this time last year. The rate of decline has slowed from the first six months of 2009 during which sales declined by 25 percent year-on-year. All monthly sales numbers represent a three-month moving average of global semiconductor sales.

“Growing sales of netbook personal computers, which now account for approximately 17 percent of notebook PC unit sales, have created an important new market segment, filling a gap between ‘smart cell phones’ and conventional laptop PCs,” Scalise continued. “Personal computers have become especially attractive to consumers as average selling prices for PCs have declined by around 14 percent while memory content has increased by 25 percent during the past year. This translates into significantly more computing power at a significantly lower price.” Scalise 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.

Logistics Management, 10/2009