Chip sales slump in 2001

PCs, mobile phones to blame

World chip sales fell 32 per cent in 2001 to $139 billion, the worst slump ever for the semiconductor industry.

Declining sales (that's value, not units) in chips for mobile phones and PCs were responsible for most of the slump, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) which compiled the figures.

But demand bottomed out in Q3, and both product segments saw double digit growth in Q4. DRAM pricing also improved in December, although not to the point where any of the manufacturers made a profit.

The perennially optimistic SIA detects signs of an upturn - outside perenially depressed Japan. Chip sales in Q4 were - outside Japan - 3.7 per cent up on Q3. Add Japan's figures and the market fell 0.1 per cent for the quarter. Compare December 2001 with December, 2000 and the figures look worse, with sales down 43 per cent year-on-year.

According to the SIA, sales will see a slight upturn in Q1, this year and will pick up strongly in Q2. ®