Skip to main content

Worldwide Q2 semiconductor sales soar, generating £50bn

Global semiconductor sales for the second quarter rose six per cent compared with the first quarter of 2013, with sales in the month of June increasing a robust 2.1 per cent year-over-year, the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) has reported.

Second-quarter semiconductor sales of $74.7 billion (£48.7 billion) eclipsed the first quarter's $70.5 billion (£46 billion), marking what the SIA said was "the largest quarterly increase in three years." June's sales were $24.9 billion (£16.2 billion), up 0.8 per cent from May's figures.

"There's no question the global semiconductor industry has picked up steam through the first half of 2013, led largely by the Americas. We have now seen consistent growth on a monthly, quarterly, and year-to-year basis, and sales totals have exceeded the latest industry projection, with sales of memory products showing particular strength," SIA president and CEO Brian Toohey said in a statement.

Compiled by the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) organisation, the numbers pointed to particular strength in the North American and South American markets.

Semiconductor sales in the Americas increased 8.6 per cent sequentially in the second quarter and in the month of June, and rose 10.6 per cent compared with the same month in 2012. June's sales figures marked "the region's largest year-over-year increase of 2013," the SIA said.

Global semiconductor sales for the year to date have bested WSTS projections, the association noted. The industry has thus far generated sales of $145.1 billion (£94.6 billion), exceeding the WSTS forecast of $144.1 billion (£93.9 billion). The research organisation's projection of 4.6 per cent sequential sales growth in the second quarter also wound up being pessimistic — as noted, quarter-over-quarter sales actually grew by six per cent.

The numbers should also ease some concerns that a shrinking demand for PCs in the face of increased demand for less powerful mobile devices is hurting the semiconductor industry in terms of revenue, if not unit shipments. The market for the most powerful and pricey client-side processors used in consumer PCs may be dwindling, but sales of semiconductor components used in smartphones and tablets, as well as for data centre and networking products, appear to be making up any difference in terms of overall revenue numbers.

Meanwhile, Toohey made the case that industry growth, and particularly growth in the US, could be even stronger if different immigration policies were approved by the US Congress.

"While we welcome this encouraging data, it is important to recognize the semiconductor workforce that drives innovation and growth in our industry. A key roadblock inhibiting our innovation potential is America's outdated high-skilled immigration system, which limits semiconductor companies' access to the world's top talent," he said.

"The House of Representatives should use the August recess to work out their political differences on this issue and return to Washington next month ready to approve meaningful immigration reform legislation."