Despite recent downturns in the market for semiconductor chips, the mobile industry may be the new top consumer for chip makers.

A slowing of the personal computer market, which may be due to both the economic situation and a higher number of consumers choosing mobile devices over new computers, has caused the outlook for this year's chip sales to drop. According to Gartner Research, worldwide semiconductor sales are expected to fall by 0.1 percent by the end of the year to $299 billion, a far cry from the earlier forecasted 5.1 percent increase. Next year's sales are also expected to be lower than original projections, although the research company does predict increased sales for 2012.

"Three key factors are shaping the short-term outlook: excess inventory, manufacturing overcapacity and slowing demand due to economic weakness," noted Bryan Lewis, vice president of research at Gartner. "The odds of a double-dip U.S. recession continue to rise and are raising fear that sales prospects will deteriorate further."

The mobile market may help boost the industry, however. Sales of tablets, smartphones and mobile phone accessories has continued to rise throughout the recession, and recent reports show the industry may continue to be strong.