Global computer chip industry sales reached the highest-ever annual total of $555.9 billion last year, the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) reported this week. The figure represents an increase of 26.2% compared to the 2020 total of $440.4 billion.
The association went on to report that the industry shipped a record 1.15 trillion units in 2021 in response to high demand.
“In 2021, amid the ongoing global chip shortage, semiconductor companies substantially ramped up production to unprecedented levels to address persistently high demand, resulting in record chip sales and units shipped,” said SIA president and CEO John Neuffer.
SIA predicts that demand for semiconductors will “rise significantly” in the coming years, as chips become heavily embedded in the essential technologies.
Millions of products, such as cars, smartphones and washing machines, rely on computer chips.
When the coronavirus pandemic began in 2020, some tech firms started stockpiling chips or ordering them in advance, which led to many companies struggling to buy the components. As lockdowns forced millions to work from home, demand for laptops, tablets and webcams skyrocketed. At the same, labor shortages at chip factories lead to shortages worldwide.
The situation has led governments and lawmakers to work on securing the supply chain and bringing the manufacture of semiconductors closer to home, as some of the biggest chip makers are located in Asia.
Last year, US President Joe Biden pledged $50 billion for semiconductor manufacturing and research with a bill known as the CHIPS for America Act.
Earlier this month, the EU announced a new European Chips Act that will see €15 billion ($17.11 billion) of additional investments in the industry until 2030.
SIA represents 99% of the US semiconductor industry by revenue and nearly two-thirds of non-US chip firms.
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