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DRAM revenues declined 5% in 2005, says Gartner

Posted: 15 Feb 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Peter Clarke? Nanya? Elpida? DRAM? Gartner Dataquest?

Nanya and Elpida were the only companies in the top ranked half dozen, that were able to increase DRAM sales in a 2005 market that declined 5 percent compared with 2004, according to Gartner Dataquest.

Worldwide DRAM revenues declined 5 percent in 2005 to $25 billion, down from $26.3 billion in 2004 according to preliminary estimates from the market forecast company Gartner Dataquest. Quarterly results for the fourth quarter show that industry revenue fell 6.1 percent to $6.1 billion. Although industry revenues contracted for the first time since 2001 the single digit decline was mild compared to the revenue decline of 63.2 percent seen in 2001 and in other recent downturns.

Even though DRAM revenue at Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd dropped 1.2 percent, Samsung remained the giant of the DRAM business in 2005, with $8.02 billion in revenue and 32.1 percent of the market. Hynix Semiconductor Inc. established itself in second ranked position, despite a drop in sales of 4.1 percent to $4.11 billion, giving it 16.4 percent of the market.

Sales at third-ranked Micron Technology Inc. fell even faster at 7.2 percent, leaving it with $3.87 billion. Meanwhile, Infineon sales dropped much faster than the market average, by 9.1 percent to $3.18 billion. Elpida, with growth of 13.7 percent, grabbed firth place; while Nanya with growth of 21.4 percent was ranked sixth.

"2005 was not a good year for the DRAM industry, but it could have been a lot worse," said Andrew Norwood, VP at Gartner Dataquest, in a statement. "It's very clear, NAND flash saved the DRAM industry from a major collapse," said Norwood in the statement. NAND flash is a non-volatile memory technology used in digital cameras and MP3 players that has seen explosive growth in the last few years. During 2005, major DRAM vendors such as Samsung and Hynix diverted production to NAND, saving the DRAM industry from an even more acute oversupply and falling prices.

"Even with their focus on NAND flash in 2005, Samsung and Hynix still dominate the DRAM industry with just under 50 percent of the market between them" said Norwood. Both vendors managed to increase there market share slightly over 2004.

- Peter Clarke
EE Times

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