The global chip market was flat compared to a year before and down sequentially. The three-month averaged sales for the month of December 2018 reached $38.2 billion, up 0.6 percent over the three-month average for December 2017, but down 7.0 percent compared to the three-month average for November 2018.

But by geography the Americas region showed a strong year-on-year decline in sales; a fall of 6.2 percent while Asia-Pacific excluding China and Japan also fell. This may reflect a strong influence of the smartphone on those regions general market fortunes. The Europe, Japan and China regions – broader applications bases including automotive and industrial – sustained year-on-year market growth.

The December three-month averaged sales are equivalent to final quarter sales for the year.

Three-month average of sales for December and November 2018. Source: SIA/WSTS.

The fourth-quarter sales of $114.7 billion were 0.6 percent higher than the total from the fourth quarter of 2017, but 8.2 percent less than the third quarter of 2018. This resulted in full year 2018 global chip sales of $468.8 billion, an increase of 13.7 percent compared to the 2017 total.

“Market growth slowed during the second half of 2018, but the long-term outlook remains strong,” said John Neuffer, CEO of the SIA, in a statement. “Semiconductors continue to make the world around us smarter and more connected, and a range of budding technologies – artificial intelligence, virtual reality, the Internet of Things, among many others – hold tremendous promise for future growth.”

Next: By product category

Memory was the largest semiconductor category by sales with $158.0 billion in 2018, and the fastest growing, with sales increasing 27.4 percent. Within the memory category, sales of DRAM products increased 36.4 percent and sales of NAND flash products increased 14.8 percent.

Logic ($109.3 billion) and microprocessor and microcontroller ICs ($67.2 billion) were the next most significant categories. Other fast-growing product categories in 2018 included power transistors (14.4 percent growth/total sales of $14.4 billion) and analog products (10.8 percent growth/total sales of $58.8 billion).

Annual sales increased substantially across all regions: China (20.5 percent), the Americas (16.4 percent), Europe (12.1 percent), Japan (9.2 percent), and Asia Pacific/All Other (6.1 percent). For the month of December 2018, year-to-year sales increased in China (5.8 percent), Europe (2.8 percent), and Japan (2.3 percent), but fell in Asia Pacific/All Other (-0.7 percent) and the Americas (-6.2 percent).

Monthly data is given by the SIA and other bodies 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 shows troughs at the beginnings of quarters and peaks at the ends of quarters.

Related links and articles:

News articles:

Chip market growth dips below 10 percent

Chip market growth continues to soften

Global chip market to return to low growth in 2019

China keeps global semiconductor market going strong

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