Feature Article

October 19, 2012

Flash Memory Market to Edge Down This Year, But Brighter Future Predicted

Revenue for the flash memory market is predicted to finish the year lower than in 2011, but brighter times are ahead, according to a new study by IHS iSuppli.

The market is predicted to total $24.3 billion in 2012, which is 4.7 percent lower than the $25.5 billion seen in 2011, IHS said.

In addition, the NAND sector will total $20.8 billion and the NOR sector will total $3.5 billion – by the end of December.

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However, IHS predicts that the flash memory market will “bounce back next year with growth of 11.4 percent, and then continue to expand at a steady clip.” By 2016, market revenue will total $33.3 billion, representing a five-year compound growth rate of 5.3 percent.

NOR is still found in lower-cost cellphones, but the NOR sector is contracting. NAND flash is used smartphones, and is “flourishing,” IHS said.

Also, mobile handsets are playing a key role in the flash memory market.

“The action in the NOR and NAND flash memory market largely is being driven by mobile handsets,” Michael Yang, an analyst for memory and storage at IHS, said in a firm statement. “Flash memory growth is due in large part to mobile handsets. With Apple and Samsung leading the way, phones today are constantly being refreshed with the latest features and processors—requiring more powerful memory products, in turn.”

In addition, Samsung Electronics was first in the NAND flash-memory market during Q2. The company achieved 42.5 percent of the market share. No. 2 was Toshiba, with 24.7 percent share. Micron Technology was third, and was able to break past 20 percent market-share. SK Hynix Semiconductor was fourth with 11.8 percent.

In related news, dynamic random access memory (DRAM) is a rival technology for smartphones. IHS predicted last month that DRAM may increase by nearly 50 percent in 2012, according to eWeek.

Also, DRAM increased to its highest level ever during the second quarter.Revenue for DRAM memory jumped to $1.85 billion, compared to $1.83 billion in Q1, King reported. The increase was explained in part because of “increased shipments” and “steady pricing,” added  the IHS study.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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