Those cheerful voices you can hear are semiconductor distributors singing “Happy Days Are Here Again”. A buoyant mood is enveloping the European semiconductor distribution industry as it gets back on track and strengthens its position in the European high-tech industry.
According to DMASS (Distributors’ and Manufacturers’ Association of Semiconductor Specialists) semiconductor distribution sales in Q1/CY14 grew by 7.7% to 1.6bn Euro. Specifically core markets in Western Europe have stabilised.
Georg Steinberger (pictured), chairman of DMASS, reviewed the results: “The weak forces of 2012 and 2013 are behind us. In most of the major regions, the market enjoyed high single- digit or even double-digit growth. The continued average selling price pressure notwithstanding, distribution shows a good performance. Order books are full, we are looking ahead to a very positive 2014.”
From a regional perspective, the powerhouse of Germany is slowly recovering from its lacklustre performance over the last 2 years. The market there grew by 6.6% to 511m Euro, representing 32% of the total market, and the biggest market in Europe by a country mile. The Italian market is sweeping away memories of its macro-economic crisis and grew by 12.7% to 157m Euro. The UK market was also on top form growing 10.6% to 136m Euro. France grew by 7.6% to 124m Euro and Eastern Europe (excluding Russia) leapt 12.5% to 178m Euro. Structural reasons in the Nordic region resulted in a decline of sales by 4.6% to 146m Euro.
Commented Georg Steinberger: “It seems that the crisis mode in some Western European countries is over – Italy and Spain have reported double-digit growth rates, catching up with their old strength. Germany slowly regains its old position although the last quarter still was under-average.”
Commodities did surprisingly well in the product categories – Discretes grew by 16.9% to 90m Euro, and Power Discretes were up 14.5% to166m Euro. Standard Logic jumped 9.7% to 30m Euro and Standard Analogue grew by 7.1% to 377m Euro. Double digit growth in LEDs led the optoelectronics sector to a 9.1% increase to 158m Euro. Memories were buffeted by price weakness and inched forward just 1% to 123m Euro. MOS Micro enjoyed a 10.7% growth, to 334m Euro in stark contrast to Programmable Logic which again proved disappointing, declining 3.8% to 124m Euro.
“The clearest trend in semiconductor distribution at the moment seems to be the shift from low-end MCUs and Stand-Alone DSPs to 32-Bit architectures, predominantly ARM. Also very positive is the development of High-Power LEDs for the various lighting market segments. Programmable Logic on the other hand still waits for its final recovery – after six consecutive quarters of below-average performance,” Steinberger concluded.


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