Well it’s not all doom and gloom. According to DMASS* European semiconductor distribution sales grew by 8.4% to 2.5bn Euro, an all-time record in the first quarter of 2019.

A delighted DMASS chairman, Georg Steinberger, commented, “It is amazing that our industry could deliver another record, after eight quarters solidly above 2bn Euro of consolidated sales. We recognise the fact that much of the current growth is driven from a solid backlog and expect the growth to come down through the year, as many members see the booking situation weakening as we speak.”

As a caveat DMASS points to uneven growth at country and region level. The major countries – the UK, Germany, France and Italy – barely scratched the average growth, while some countries in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe exploded into double-digit increase.

In Germany sales grew by an acceptable 5.1% to 742m Euro, Italy shrank by 1.4% to 219m Euro, while sales in France rose 8% to 172m Euro, the UK (without Ireland) was up 5.9% to 159m Euro. Eastern Europe reported a 10% increase to 407m Euro. Scandinavia went to the top of the class setting a scorching 32% pace to 250m Euro.

Said Steinberger, “The numbers show some unusual effects in various countries with a significant contract manufacturing business, but in general it looks like the major economies are absorbing the lion’s share of the current slowdown effects. If this is a trend for the rest of the year remains to be seen.”

On the product front, the major growth came in selective product areas like Discretes, Power, Sensors, Memories and Other Logic, but not across all countries.

The closest to a reasonable interpretation, reports DMASS, is that Opto struggled, Analogue stuck close to the average and specifically Memories, Discretes and Sensors drove double-digit increases. Analogue products grew 10.5% to 739m Euro, MOS Micro shrank 0.1% to 478m Euro, Power sales rose 11.7% to 278m Euro.

Memory sales surged 15.8% to 227m Euro overtaking Opto  which edged ahead 1.5% to 220m Euro, Programmable Logic grew 5.8% to 166m Euro and Other Logic by 23% to 138m Euro.

Georg Steinberger concluded, “The outstanding growth in some product areas was clearly driven by the development in certain countries. Overall, the two major trends identifiable this quarter were the weakness in Optoelectronics and the technology shift in Microcontrollers to higher-level architectures. We expect some levelling during the next quarters, but it is obvious that certain products become sexier while others turn into legacy.”

*DMASS (Distributors’ and Manufacturers’ Association of Semiconductor Specialists) claims a coverage of 80 to 85% of European Semiconductor DTAM

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