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Semiconductors put in strong May performance

Paul Kunert

Often used as a bell weather for the industry, figures by the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) have shown that the worldwide market grew at a healthy rate in May driven by strong demand for consumer electronics.

According to the SIA, sales grew 7.5 per cent in the month to $21.8bn (£10.94bn) compared to the same period a year earlier and were up sequentially 2.8 per cent from $21.2bn.

"Global sales of semiconductors grew at a healthy rate in May reflecting continued strong sales of consumer electronic products," said George Scalise, president of the SIA.

The SIA added that the May results defied gloomy reports of declining consumer confidence in the US as both disposable income and consumer spending had risen.

In Europe, the market grew 4.4 per cent to $3.41bn compared to the same month a year earlier but declined sequentially by 0.3 per cent.

The sales figures revealed a shift in the global balance of power with the emerging markets posting nearly double digit growth, diluting the importance of the US and Western European markets.

"Consumers account for more than half of all semiconductor sales worldwide. In the past, the US was the largest consumer market and the primary driver of demand. Today this country accounts for less than a quarter," said Scalise.

The US had constituted 31 per cent and 21 of all PC and mobile phone sales globally but that had fallen to 21 per cent and 13 per cent respectively.

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