LONDON Market research company Web-Feet Research Inc. (Monterey, Calif.) said the 2004 flash memory market was $17.3 billion, nearly 11 percent higher than the $15.6 billion reported by World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS).
In addition WFR forecasts the flash memory market will grow 11 percent to reach $19.2 billion in 2005 with most of this growth driven by demand for NAND components and multi-chip package configurations.
WFR said differences between its numbers and those of WSTS and market research firms were due to different ways of recognizing the revenue from multi-chip packages (MCP), which usually include flash memory.
Flash-based MCP products generally include multiple flash die and one or more random access memory die, bonded together in a single package. Although separating the value of the flash memory from that of the DRAM, SRAM or pseudo-SRAM die is desirable, in practice it is difficult because the vendors do not report shipments to WSTS uniformly, WFR said. As a consequence WFR has opted to account for the entire value of the flash-based MCP as flash memory.
In contrast, companies reporting to WSTS are asked to divide MCP revenue into its Flash, SRAM, and DRAM components. In WFR said this is not done consistently by the suppliers, distorting quarter-to-quarter and year-to-year comparisons, WFR claimed. "Nevertheless, most market research firms correlate their market numbers with the WSTS results," said WFR in a statement.
WFR collects the flash memory shipment data through the Flash Memory Reporting Association (FMRA). Founded in 2000, the 17 FMRA member companies accounted for nearly 99 percent of the worldwide Flash memory shipments in 2004, WFR said.