SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Semiconductor sales climbed 3.3 percent in March from the month before, but sales for the quarter declined 30 percent year over year, an industry trade group said Friday.
Worldwide chip sales in March came to $14.7 billion, compared with $14.2 billion in February, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association.
Sales for the first three months of the year dropped 30 percent to $44 billion from $62.8 billion in the same quarter a year ago. They fell 15.7 percent from the $52.2 billion recorded in the fourth quarter of last year.
Despite the dramatic quarterly decline, the SIA viewed the uptick in March as a hopeful indicator that chip sales may have reached a bottom.
"The modest sequential rebound in worldwide sales in March suggests that demand has stabilized somewhat, albeit at substantially lower levels than last year," SIA President George Scalise said in a statement.
The growth in March came in all regions of the world except Japan, the SIA said. The poorer sales there were due to declining national economic output, according to the trade group.
Demand for small, affordable "netbook" computers and smart phones -- two products that have drawn relatively strong consumer demand despite the recession -- offered some bright spots, Scalise said.
But he added, "There are no clear signs of early firming of demand in other major end markets such as automotive, corporate information technology, and consumer electronics."