Global chip sales up 1.5 percent in March

Summary:Worldwide semiconductor chip sales rose in March, but were down nearly 8 percent from a year ago, marking challenges ahead for the market.

Worldwide chip sales were up 1.5 percent in March on the previous month, but down nearly 8 percent a year ago as the industry sees a continued slowdown.

The Semiconductor Industry Association said chip sales came to $23.3 billion, up by $300 million in February. But in March 2011, chip sales were hitting the $25 billion mark, signalling a way to go until the market recovers.

The figures show sales for the quarter were down 2.2 percent to $69.9 billion, representing an 8 percent loss on the year earlier.

European and Japanese market showed particularly strong sequential growth with a 3.8 percent and 1.2 percent increase respectively. The remaining worldwide markets show a moderate increase in sales.

"Macroeconomic" and "geopolitical uncertainties" were cited as the main reasons why sales were down on the quarter. The 2011 Thai floods remains at the top of list of major setbacks to the industry after supply chains were severely impacted.

In February, global semiconductor sales dropped by 1.3 percent from January. Japan's semiconductor industry took a serious knock after the earthquake and tsunami that rippled through the global chip and hard drive market.

Intel remains the leader in semiconductor sales with more than 15 percent of the global market share. The chip giant saw its revenue rocket by more than 20 percent in 2011 thanks to strong sales in microprocessors and NAND flash memory.

Samsung comes in second with over 9 percent, followed by Texas Instruments with 4.5 percent and Toshiba with 4.1 percent.

Image credit: Semiconductor Industry Association.

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Topics: Hardware, Enterprise Software

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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