SAN FRANCISCO — Samsung Electronics maintained its No. 1 position in semiconductor sales over rival Intel in the second quarter, as the South Korean giant continued to benefit from from a sustained chip memory boom.

Samsung's second quarter share of chip market stood at 15.9%, compared with Intel's 13.9%, according to market research firm IHS Markit. However, Intel closed the gap somewhat during the quarter, outgrowing Samsung by nearly 3 percentage points as the market for NAND flash memory cooled significantly, IHS said.

Samsung reported second quarter sales of $19.2 billion, up 3.4% compared to the first quarter and up by 33.7% compared to the second quarter of 2017. Intel, meanwhile, had second quarter sales of 16.7 billion, up 6.3% from the first quarter and up 14.9% compared with the first quarter of 2017, according to IHS.

Due in large part to the memory boom, Samsung unseated Intel as the No. 1 chip vendor last year, marking the first time since 1992 that a chipmaker other than Intel led the market.

Q2 2018 semiconductor sales data

Overall, semiconductor sales in the second quarter totaled a record $120.8 billion, with growth reported across all applications and regions.

"The explosive growth in enterprise and storage drove the market to new heights in the second quarter," said Ron Ellwanger, senior analyst and component landscape tool manager, IHS Markit, in a press statement. “This growth contributed to record application revenue in data processing and wired communication markets as well as in the microcomponent and memory categories.”

Memory chip revenue totaled $42 billion in the second quarter, marking the ninth consecutive quarter of memory sales growth, IHS said.

“This latest uptick comes at a time of softening prices for NAND flash memory," Ellwanger said. "However, more attractive pricing for NAND memory is pushing SSD demand and revenue higher.”

According to DRAMeXchange, a market research firm that tracks memory chip pricing, after several consecutive quarters of robust growth, the average selling price of NAND flash is expected to decline by about 10% quarter-over-quarter in both the third and fourth quarter due to weaker-than-expected demand and an increasing supply of 3D NAND as vendors improve yields and expand capacity.

— Dylan McGrath is the editor-in-chief of EE Times.