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Flash memory market dips this year

Posted: 19 Oct 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:flash memory market? NOR? NAND? mobile handset?

IHS has released its report underlining the dramatic shifts taking place in the NAND and NOR flash memory marketprimarily a result of the impact mobile handsets. Revenue for the flash memory market by year-end is projected to drop to $24.3 billion, down 4.7 per cent from 25.5 per cent from $25.5 billion last year, noted the market research firm.

The NAND segment this year will account for $20.8 billion and the NOR sector will make up the remainder at $3.5 billion. While this year's numbers are slightly down from 2011 because of larger-than-expected erosion in NAND prices, the market will bounce back next year with growth of 11.4 per cent, and then continue to expand at a steady clip. By 2016, total flash memory revenue will amount to $33.3 billion, equivalent to a five-year CAGR of 5.3 per cent, added IHS.

Figure 1: Worldwide Flash Memory Revenue Forecast (Billions of US Dollars)
Source: IHS iSuppli Research, October 2012.

"The action in the NOR and NAND flash memory market largely is being driven by mobile handsets," said Michael Yang, senior principal analyst for memory and storage at IHS. "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 processorsrequiring more powerful memory products, in turn."

NOR, which blossomed in the early years of the handset business, continues to be used in lower-cost

cell phones, despite ongoing market share losses in its total market to rival NAND. NAND flash, meanwhile, is enjoying high demand as consumers migrate to smartphones, in which data storage in the phones takes advantage of NAND cost, scale and die size.

The NOR industry continues to contract, with the latest retreat occurring in Q2. NOR revenue fell to $837 million, down 4.6 per cent from the earlier quarter, and down by an even steeper 28.2 per cent from 2Q11.

NOR's troubles come from the wireless sector, where it is being squeezed by lower-cost NAND-based solutions emulating NOR capabilities. Unlike the struggling NOR flash space, the rival NAND flash sector is flourishing despite a temporary setback this year that saw an erosion in average selling prices cut into total anticipated revenue.

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