Chip Sales' Sluggishness Lingers

Worlwide revenue grew less than 2% in April.
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Worldwide chip sales grew less than 2% in April, as low prices continued to pressure the business.

Total semiconductor revenue was $19.9 billion in April, according to industry group the Semiconductor Industry Association. That's up 1.6% from the tally in April 2006 but down 2.1% from the $20.3 billion chip sales in March.

"A very competitive semiconductor market, with declining average selling prices in major industry segments, contributed to a sequential decline in worldwide chip sales," said SIA President George Scalise.

He pointed to microprocessors, DRAM memory and NAND flash memory as all experiencing greater-than-normal price declines.

The falling prices are keeping sales in check, despite the fact that unit shipments of the chips are on the rise. DRAM and NAND flash chips saw unit shipments jump 50% and 54% year-over-year in April, according to the SIA. But revenue from DRAM only rose by 27%, while NAND flash revenue notched roughly 1% growth.

"Consumer spending on electronics products appears to have held up reasonably well despite a slowdown in economic growth in some regions of the world," Scalise said.

Overall semiconductor sales in the first four months of this year are up 3.7% year-over-year. The SIA will issue an updated forecast for 2007-2009 chip sales in June.