SAN FRANCISCO — Global semiconductor sales topped $100 million in a quarter for the first time in the third quarter, reaching $107.9 billion, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) trade group.

Third quarter sales were up more than 10 percent from the second quarter, which set the previous high-water mark for chip sales in a quarter with $97.9 billion, according to the SIA, which reports sales figures compiled by the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics organization, a group made up of more than 55 leading chip makers worldwide.

Year-to-date, semiconductor sales are tracking more than 20 percent ahead of last year's pace. The semiconductor industry is almost certain to set a sales record this year, with sales potentially topping $400 billion for the first time, thanks largely to tremendous growth in memory revenue amid tight supply.

John Neuffer
John Neuffer

The three-month moving average of semiconductor sales in September also set a new record for the industry. Sales grew to $36 billion, up 2 percent compared with August and up 22 percent compared with September 2016, the SIA said.

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September sales increased across all markets compared to August and compared to September 2016, according to the SIA. Sales in the Americas region grew by nearly 6 percent sequentially and by nearly 41 percent compared to last year, according to the SIA. Sales in both China and Europe also grew by 19 percent year-over-year, according to the trade group.

"The Americas market continued to stand out, notching its largest year-to-year sales increase in more than seven years," said John Neuffer, SIA president, in a press statement. "Standouts among semiconductor product categories included memory products like DRAM and NAND flash, both of which posted major year-to-year growth in September, as well as logic products, which enjoyed double-digit growth year-to-year."

In its most recent forecast, published in August, the WSTS projected that chip sales would increase by 17 percent this year to reach $397 billion. Other market watchers are even more bullish; market research firm IC Insights recently predicted that semiconductor sales would increase by 22 percent this year, largely driven by surging DRAM and NAND sales. The firm said the overall memory segment is expected to grow sales by 58 percent this year, according 44 percent growth in NAND sales and a whopping 72 percent growth in DRAM sales.

— Dylan McGrath is the editor-in-chief of EE Times.

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