After a very positive, double-digit 2017, the European semiconductor distribution industry posted solid growth throughout 2018. In the 4th quarter of 2018, semiconductor distribution sales according to DMASS, grew by 14.2% to 2.3bn Euro. For the total year, DMASS reported semiconductor sales of 9.2bn Euro, an increase of 8.2% compared to 2017.
Georg Steinberger, chairman of DMASS: “9.2 Billion Euro is the highest distribution sales ever reported in Europe. Given that the exchange rate effects at the beginning of 2018 had quite an influence, we conclude that distribution share of the total market remained stable, against all odds. In US Dollars, DMASS grew in 2018 by 13.1%, pretty much in line with the total market. What is quite surprising is the fact that all four quarters of 2018 ended almost at the same sales level.”
By country and region, the growth rates in Q4/2018 ranged from basically flat (Rest of Europe) to over 40% (Sweden). Of the major regions, Nordic and the UK(!) grew fastest, followed by Eastern Europe, Russia, Iberia and Benelux. Germany grew by 10.3% to 662m Euro, Italy by 8.5% to 183m Euro, the UK by 21.7% to 173m Euro, France by 11.1% to 160m Euro, Eastern Europe by 18.1% to 374m Euro and Nordic by 27% to 234m Euro.
Commented Steinberger: “If we forget about special effects like the Brexit, the long-term trend is clearly towards countries with a huge manufacturing or contract manufacturing base, which clearly puts lower-cost regions in Eastern Europe and to some extent in the South at an advantage.”
On the product side, most technologies grew double digit in Q4, except Optoelectronics and MOS Micro, which both seem to trail the overall trend throughout the year.
Discretes, Power Discretes, Sensors, Analogue, Memories and Logic in general, however, had a very healthy quarter. On a yearly basis, Discretes grew by 21.5% to 552m Euro, Power Discretes were up 15.3% to 972m Euro, Sensors and Actuators rose 14.5% to 226m Euro, Opto edged ahead 1.1% to 853m Euro.
Analogue IC sales advanced 6.8% to 2.7bn Billion Euro, Memories grew 9.6% to 774m Euros, MOS Micro (incl. Processors and DSPs) were up 5.7% to 1.87bn Euro, Progammable Logic rose 7.5% to 611m Euro and Other Logic (ASSPs) grew 6.7% to 479m Euro. Standard Logic finally ended 13.4% higher at 157m Euro.
Georg Steinberger concluded: “Solid growth in almost all fields is clearly showing that 2018 was driven by overall customer demand across all industry segments, While MOS Micro sees a generation change to higher end solutions, LEDs are particularly suffering from a weakness in the automotive sector. All in all, a surprisingly good year that saw a few extra influences like the weak US Dollar at the beginning of the year and a few channel shift decisions towards the end. Since our market grew by almost a quarter in 2 years, helped by allocation and pricing, the question remains now what happens going forward. In 2019, the struggle for distribution will be to keep the positive trend.”