The semiconductor market is showing strong signs of growth, new research shows, with global sales expected to rise to $255.7 billion in 2006, up 7.8 percent from the previous year.

Personal computers and mobile phones are significantly driving the growth, market research firm iSuppli stated on Wednesday. The data-processing equipment segment, which is dominated by PCs, will experience global revenue growth of 7.3 percent in 2006 while the wireless communications gear area, which is heavily influenced by mobile phones, is expected to achieve a revenue expansion of 5.2 percent for the year.

The PC and mobile-phone markets, the major drivers of semiconductor sales during the past two years, have remained healthy in 2006, said Gary Grandbois, principal analyst with iSuppli.

Both the PC and mobile-phone areas are maintaining their momentum in 2006, keeping semiconductor shipments at a higher level than they were during the second half of 2005, Grandbois noted.

The firm also noted that despite the recent worries of rising inventories, conditions for 2006 are much better than they were in the past. The bulk inventory excess has been due to new product launches and market-share battles in the microprocessor and PC core logic chipset areas, the firm said, whereas in past years, the problem was industry wide.

While some signs show an inventory glut has spread to other segments of the electronics industry, there are few indications that it is having a significant impact on chip sales, iSuppli concludes.