Worldwide sales of semiconductors fell nearly 30 percent in the first quarter of 2009, according to a new report by the Semiconductor Industry Association. While sales of netbooks and smartphones have helped chip sales in the first few months of 2009, other industries are not increasing their demands for semiconductors.
Global sales of semiconductors fell 30 percent between the
first quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009, as consumers
and business users stopped buying laptops
, enterprise hardware and other
types of gadgets, according to a new report from the Semiconductor Industry
The May 1 report found that semiconductor sales fell from
$62.8 billion in the first three months of 2008 to $44 billion during the first
quarter of 2009. Chip sales also declined 15.7 percent from the fourth quarter
of 2008 to the first quarter of 2009.
There were some good signs in the SIA report. Semiconductor
sales increased more than 3 percent between February and March of this year.
Sales of smartphones, such as the Apple
and BlackBerry phones from Research In Motion, helped the overall
market. In addition, sales
of netbooks or mini-notebooks also helped increase the demand for chips.
However, other industries are cutting back on their
purchases of chips, which could lead to tough times ahead for the semiconductor
"The modest sequential rebound in worldwide sales in March
suggests that demand has stabilized somewhat, albeit at substantially lower
levels than last year," SIA President George Scalise wrote in a statement.
"While all major product sectors showed month-on-month
growth, there continues to be limited visibility in end markets," Scalise
added. "There are some bright spots such as -smartphones' and -netbook' PCs,
but there are no clear signs of early firming of demand in other major
end markets such as automotive, corporate information technology and consumer
For now, the SIA does not see a major turnaround in the
semiconductor industry until 2010, when some of the money from the stimulus
package in the United States makes its way through the larger global economy.
When Intel released its latest quarterly report in April, CEO
Paul Otellini said the world's PC industry hit rock bottom in the first quarter
, and he hoped the industry was poised for a comeback. Within the
x86 chip market, Intel remains the leader when it comes to processor shipments,
according to Mercury Research.
April 30 report from Mercury also found that x86 chip shipments
down in the first quarter of 2009, but that the market may revive itself in the