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2011 Was a Record Year for Semiconductor Sales


The news this week is certainly focused around the healthy numbers just released by SIA here.  We know that 2011 brought more than its fair share of challenges to the semiconductor and electronics market, particularly as a result of the terrible natural disasters in Japan and Thailand coupled with the macro-economic concerns that undercut consumer and enterprise spending.

As SIA released yesterday, worldwide semiconductor revenues for 2011 have reached a new record high, "US$299.5 billion, a year-on-year increase of 0.4 percent from the $298.3 billion recorded in 2010," as reported here.  Unsurprisingly though, it was not the result of 4Q11 revenue which confirms that the final quarter of last year was very tough according to the same report, "Fourth quarter sales of [US]$71.5 billion represent a 7.7 percent decline from the immediate prior quarter, and a 5.3 percent decrease over the same period in 2010."

Additionally, the growth in semiconductor revenue is linked to the strong sales for optoelectronics, particularly LED lighting and the rise in energy efficiency lighting solutions for automotive and for buildings, and the increase in sensors and actuators, showing a 6.4% and 15.5% rise, respectively.  Of particular interest is the rise in a subgroup of ICs, as reported by SIA in their report:

"MOS Microprocessors, part of the integrated circuit category, which are predominantly used in PCs and other devices that need processing capabilities also experienced year-over-year growth, with an increase of 7.5 percent in revenue to $65.2B making it the second largest semiconductor market segment for 2011, behind Logic. Strong demand in the enterprise computing segment drove microprocessor sales."

We at Smith MarketWatch have and continue to monitor these sectors (see here for the 2011 round up, for example) both in this Commentary space as well as in our MarketWatch Quarterly series.

Other positive 2011 news released yesterday came from SEMI here, reporting that wafer sales for the year 2011 had risen year-over-year:

"Worldwide silicon wafer revenues improved by two percent in 2011 compared to 2010 according to the SEMI Silicon Manufacturers Group (SMG) in its year-end analysis of the silicon wafer industry. Worldwide silicon wafer area shipments decreased by three percent in 2011 when compared to 2010 area shipments."

However, by 2H11, wafer shipments, much like the rest of the industry, experienced a decline due to the unstable economic conditions, according to SEMI here, "While the recovery from the 2009 downturn continued into early 2011," said Kazuyo Heinink, chairwoman of SEMI SMG and vice president, MEMC. "Silicon shipments lost momentum as global economic uncertainty increased during the second half of the year."

Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D.
Written on Tuesday, 07 February 2012 13:56 by Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D.

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