Global chip sales hit new high

Buoyant demand for PCs, mobiles and other devices pushed the semiconductor market past the $20bn mark in October

Sales of semiconductors have hit a new high, driven by an increase in demand for a wide range of electronic equipment.

In its latest sales figures, published last Friday, the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) reported that worldwide chip sales hit $20bn (£12bn) in October.

This represented a rise of 6.75 percent on chip sales in October 2004, and is the first time that monthly global semiconductor sales have cleared the $20bn mark. The SIA's figures are based on reported sales by 66 chipmakers, and use a three-month moving average of sales activity, to try and minimise the effect of individual companies' reporting timetables.

SIA president George Scalise said that demand for semiconductors was high across all industry sectors, suggesting that companies and individuals may be spending more on electrical equipment such as PCs and mobile devices.

"A sharp rebound in consumer confidence was reflected in strong sales of a broad range of consumer products, such as cell phones, MP3 players, digital cameras, digital TVs, and personal computers," said Scalise in a statement.

After the excesses of the dot-com boom, the semiconductor market hit tough times in 2001 when year-on-year sales plunged 31 percent and inventories bulged. The market since recovered, and last month, the SIA predicted that chip sales will rise in 2006.