WASHINGTON - Global sales of semiconductors fell 2.8 percent in 2008 compared with the previous year, the first year-on-year drop since 2001, the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) reported Monday.
The association said the global economic downturn sent semiconductor sales falling to $248.6 billion last year from $255.6 billion in 2007.
They declined by 22 percent in December to $17.4 billion from $22.3 billion in December 2007 and by 16.6 percent from November 2008, when sales were $20.9 billion.
"The global economic recession severely dampened semiconductor sales in the fourth quarter of 2008, historically a strong quarter for the industry," SIA president George Scalise said in a statement.
"Weakening demand for the major drivers of semiconductor sales -- including automotive products, personal computers, cell phones, and corporate information technology products -- resulted in a sharp drop in industry sales that affected nearly all product lines," he said.
"Once again, the steepest revenue declines were in the memory sector where price pressure more than offset significant growth in total bit shipments," Scalise said.
"The industry is currently facing an unprecedented period of uncertainty," the SIA president said. "A resumption of sales growth will depend in part on the effectiveness of various measures now under consideration by the Federal government to restore consumer confidence, improve liquidity, and stimulate economic growth."