Worldwide sales of semiconductor manufacturing equipment reached $73.6 billion; a 64% increase from 2003, according to Gartner, Inc. Tight manufacturing capacity and a strong device unit demand drove the increase.
While all equipment segments had strong growth, wafer fab equipment, the largest sector, saw the strongest growth at 69%, following a weak performance in 2003. Packaging and assembly equipment expanded by 46%, while automated test equipment jumped 59%.
Asia/Pacific accounted for more than 50% of all equipment spending in 2004, a first in the history of the industry. Japan's equipment purchases grew 48%, while European spending increased 23%. After three consecutive years of decline, equipment spending in the Americas grew 18%.