Worldwide semiconductor sales grew to $78.47 billion, the highest ever first-quarter revenue total in the industry's history, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA). Chip sales grew to $26.16 billion in March, an 11.4% increase over March 2013, when sales totaled $23.48 billion, the SIA said. Sales were also up 0.4% compared to February 2014.
Growth was spread across all regions as well. Sales in the Americas increased by 16.1% compared to last March, while sales rose 12.9% in Asia Pacific, 8% in Europe and 0.4% in Japan. It was the first time in more than three years that year-to-year sales increased across all regions, according to the SIA.
"The global semiconductor market has demonstrated consistent momentum in recent months, and sales are well ahead of last year's pace through the first quarter of 2014," said Brian Toohey, SIA president and CEO,.
He added that sales in March increased across all regions and every semiconductor product category compared to last year, "demonstrating the market's broad and diverse strength."
Toohey said recent semiconductor sales are encouraging, but one threat to the semiconductor market's continued growth is the "the innovation deficit - the gap between needed and actual federal investments in research and higher education." He said policymakers should act swiftly to close the innovation deficit by committing to "robust and sustained investments in basic scientific research and higher education."
Sales numbers are compiled by the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) organization and represent a three-month moving average.