This is an amplification of the signal seen the previous month (see Still little Covid-19 impact as April chip market stayed strong . . . except in Europe). The steepness of the sequential drop, by 6.5 percent, is even more remarkable because the comparisons between May and April produced by the SIA, based on World Semiconductor Trade Statistics figures, are based on the moving three-month averages.
The drop in sales into Europe is likely to be due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and Europe's exposure to such markets as industrial and automotive electronics, which have been hit harder by the pandemic than consumer, computing and communications electronics.
The global three-month average of chip sales in May was $34.97 billion, up 5.8 percent year-on-year. The year-on-year growth was down from a 6.1 percent equivalent figure the month before and 6.9 percent figure the month before that.
All geographic regions, apart from Europe, posted year-on-year growth in May. The Americas region market continues to hold up remarkably well with year-on-year growth in May of 25.5 percent. The Chinese market – about one third of the global total – had improved growth of 4.9 percent, helping to maintain the global firm market growth.
A recent forecast from WSTS reckons annual global sales will increase 3.3 percent in 2020 and 6.2 percent in 2021 (see Chip market will grow in 2020, accelerate in 2021, says bullish WSTS). WSTS projects year-to-year increases for 2020 over 2019 in the Americas (12.8 percent) and Asia Pacific (2.6 percent), while decreases are projected for sales into Europe (-4.1 percent) and Japan (-4.4 percent).
Three-month average of chip sales by geographic region for May and April 2020. Source: SIA/WSTS.
"The global semiconductor market in May remained largely resistant to the widespread economic disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, but there is still significant uncertainty for the months ahead," said John Neuffer, CEO of the SIA, in a statement.
Monthly data is given by the SIA as a three-month average although the source of the data, the WSTS, tracks actual monthly data. The SIA and other regional semiconductor industry bodies opt to use averaged data because it evens out the actual data that typically shows troughs at the beginnings of quarters and peaks at the ends of quarters.
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