The three-month average of global chip sales in March was $27.71 billion, an increase of 6.0 percent compared with the equivalent figure from a year before, the SIA said. For the fourth month in a row the annual growth rate has declined suggesting 2015 will be a lower growth year than 2014, although much will depend on the third quarter.

Polarization between regions with growing markets and those that are declining continued. The three-month average for chip sales in the Americas region was up 14.2 percent in comparison with March 2014 while while Japanese region averaged sales were down 9.6 percent. Averaged sales to China were up 13.3 percent while European sales were down 4.0 percent.

Monthly data is given by the SIA as a three-month average, although the WSTS organization tracks actual monthly data. The SIA and other regional semiconductor industry bodies opt to use averaged data because it evens out the actual data that typically show troughs at the beginnings of quarters and peaks at the ends of quarters.

"Despite macroeconomic challenges, first quarter global semiconductor sales are higher than they were last year, which was a record year for semiconductor revenue," said John Neuffer, CEO of the SIA, in a statement. "The Americas region posted its sixth straight month of double-digit, year-to-year growth to lead all regional markets, and DRAM and analog products."

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