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DRAM market begins to rebound

Posted: 05 Jun 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:DRAM? NAND Flash? LPDDR3? DDR4? EUV technology?

For 2014, TrendForce expects Samsung's dominance as a vertically integrated power and its 50 per cent share of the DRAM market to remain unchanged. Other mobile DRAM makers will likely experience better operating margins as shipments of branded smartphones increase. Micron, following its merger with Elpida, will become more and more capable of competing against the No.2 ranked SK Hynix, whether it is in the area of capacity or product mix. In addition to PC DRAM, mobile components such as emmc multi-chip packages eMCP) are expected to become more popular. How well NAND Flash technology is developed will become critical for manufacturers when it comes to competing against the others within the industry.

2013 NAND Flash output value grows 27%
In the NAND Flash industry, embedded product such as eMMC and SSD are showing respectable momentum thanks to the strong sales of smartphone, tablet, and Ultrabook; the various supply restraints that are being imposed by NAND Flash vendors, on the other hand, has helped to improve the market's supply and demand imbalance, in turn enabling NAND Flash prices to stabilise. Given the existence of the aforementioned developments, and taking into account the growing demand and slowing ASP decline, 2013 NAND Flash market revenue grew by an estimated 27.2 per cent compared to 2012 (arriving at approximately $25.7 billion). Assuming that the momentum continues, 2013 annual demand bit growth can be expected to reach up to 48.8 per cent YoY.

NAND Flash ASP trend

Figure 2: NAND Flash market ASP trend and revenue forecast
Source: DRAMeXchange, May 2013

On the demand side, TrendForce expects the total number of smartphones shipped to be around 935 million units in 2013, about a 38 per cent YoY increase compared to the same period from a year ago. Due to what appears to be a growing interest in white box tablets and the increased diversity in the tablet product line-ups, the number of tablet products shipped in 2013 will likely surpass the notebook market and arrive at approximately 200 million units. With a growing number of improvements being made to the software and hardware features of smartphones, and with consumer expectations towards mobile media content increasing on a consistent basis, more and more mid-to-low end smartphones are expected to begin equipping the eMMC solution, a trend which is likely to help strengthen eMMC penetration. TrendForce believes that the rapid development of eMMC will be highly critical when it comes to pushing the growth of the NAND Flash industry and strengthening the market's overall demand.

On the supply side, NAND Flash vendors are continuing to remain conservative towards CAPEX and wafer expansion plans. Because of this, bit output will be mainly derived by technology node migration. As the implementation of eMMC SSDs demands high product quality as well as reliability, the output portion of 20nm class products is projected to remain at above 70 per cent throughout 2013. Adoption of the newest manufacturing technology is not likely to occur until sometime during next year. Taking into account the fact that NAND Flash production will be mostly constrained, 2013 annual supply bit growth is forecasted be merely 41.5 per cent YoY.

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