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Semiconductor sales up 5.9 percent in April

Chip sales rose a healthy 5.9 percent in April, despite a sluggish economy, according to a report by the Semiconductor Industry Association

Semiconductor sales grew 5.9 percent worldwide in April, a healthy clip given the current sluggish economy, the Semiconductor Industry Association reported Monday.

Chip sales rose to $21.2 billion in April, up from $20.1 billion a year ago and flat with the previous month. The SIA noted April sales were essentially in line with historical industry patterns.

"Despite steep increases in energy costs that have diminished the disposable income of consumers, worldwide sales of semiconductors grew by a healthy 5.9 percent compared to April 2007," George Scalise, SIA president, said in a statement.

Weakness in memory prices weighed on the industry, which would otherwise have posted year-over-year growth of approximately 12 percent, according to the SIA.

"Unit sales of both DRAMs and NAND flash products were up significantly year-on-year, but price attrition resulted in a 14 percent decline in total sales of memory products," Scalise stated.

Chip sales for PC and handsets, however, appear to remain on track. PC and handset unit sales have kept pace with forecasts, with PCs sales expected to grow 10 percent this year and handset sales 12 percent.

Much of that growth in PC and handset sales, which are two of the largest drivers of semiconductor sales, is being fueled by overseas sales, according to the SIA.