Consumer Spending Drives Up Chip Sales: SIA

Consumer spending on laptops, netbooks and other goods, such as automobiles and home appliances, continues to drive semiconductor sales, according to SIA. Spending on chips in August were up 5 percent over July, marking the sixth consecutive month of increased sales. Netbooks is a particularly important market segment that fills the gap between smartphones and traditional laptops.

Semiconductor sales continued to grow in August, jumping 5 percent over sales in July and rising for the sixth consecutive month, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association.

Still, the numbers were down significantly-16.1 percent-when compared with the same month a year ago, according to the SIA, which released the latest figures Oct. 2.

SIA President George Scalise attributed the continued sequential rise in sales to the increase in consumer spending.

"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," Scalise said in a statement.

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Overall, worldwide sales of semiconductors in August tallied $19.1 billion. In July, that number was $18.2 billion. In August 2008, sales were at $22.7 billion.

Through August, sales in 2009 are at $133.8 billion, about a 21.3 percent decrease over the same time last year.

Scalise noted the growing sales of netbooks, which he said now account for about 17 percent of the overall notebook market. Netbooks have created an important market segment between smartphones and traditional laptops, he said. Consumers now account for about half of all PC sales.

"Personal computers have become especially attractive to consumers, as average selling prices for PCs have declined around 14 percent while memory content has increased by 25 percent during the past year," Scalise said. "This translates into significantly more computing power at a significantly lower price."

The growth in semiconductor sales touches on all geographic regions, with the Americas leading the way with a 5.4 percent jump over July and a 2.3 percent decline over August 2008. Europe saw the smallest increase over July, at 3.9 percent, and the sharpest decline from August 2008, at 30.1 percent.