Global semiconductor sales grew 4.8 percent to a record $305.6 billion in 2013 due in part to strong chip demand in the United States, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA).
Record sales were also achieved in December, when sales totaled $26.6 billion, 17 percent higher than December 2012, the association said. Fourth-quarter chip sales of $79.9 billion were 7.7 percent higher than the fourth quarter of 2012, when chip sales totaled $74.2 billion.
Total sales for 2013 marginally exceeded the forecast of World Semiconductor Trade Statistics, which had predicted a 4.4 percent increase for the year.
"The global semiconductor industry exceeded $300 billion in sales for the first time ever in 2013, spurred by consistent, steady growth across nearly all regions and product categories," said Brian Toohey, SIA president and CEO. He added that the strong fourth-quarter finish for the industry indicated that sales growth is likely to carry over into 2014.
Memory was the fastest-growing segment, as sales increased 17.6 percent in 2013. Within memory, DRAM posted the strongest growth, as sales increased 33.3 percent year over year. NAND flash revenue grew 8.1 percent.
Optoelectronic product sales grew 5.3 percent to $27.6 billion, while analog chip sales grew a modest 2.1 percent to $27.6 billion, the SIA said.
Logic was the largest semiconductor category by sales, as revenue reached $85.9 billion in 2013, a 5.2 percent increase compared to 2012. Memory, at $67 billion, and MOS micro-ICs, at $58.7 billion, rounded out the top three segments in terms of sales revenue, according to the association.
Regionally, semiconductor sales grew 13.1 percent in the Americas in 2013, 7 percent in Asia-Pacific and 5.2 percent in Europe. However, chip sales declined 15.2 percent in Japan due to the devaluation of the Japanese yen, the SIA said.
"The U.S. semiconductor market grew nearly three times faster than the global semiconductor market, despite lingering macroeconomic headwinds," said Toohey. He added that lawmakers can help maintain and expand growth by enacting policies that promote innovation and open markets. Toohey noted that President Obama expressed support for several pro-growth policies, including basic research funding, immigration reform and trade agreements in the State of the Union Address last week.
"For the Administration and Congress, now is the time for action on these critical policy priorities," said Toohey.