LONDON – The global market for NAND flash memory made a surprise growth spurt in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to market research firm IHS.
The market jumped by 17 percent sequentially, to $5.634 billion, in contrast to the average 6 percent decline in revenue that occurred during fourth quarter periods over the previous five years.
NAND flash revenue for the entire year of 2012 amounted to $20.211 billion. This compares to a figure of $19.7 billion that IHS gave in February 2013, which represented a fall of 7 percent from $21.2 billion in 2011.
The 2012 market was led by Samsung and Toshiba with two-thirds market share between them. Micron, SK Hynix and Intel are the only other significant manufacturers of NAND flash memory according to IHS.
Samsung had fourth-quarter NAND revenue of approximately $2.0 billion, ending the year with a total of $7.5 billion or 37 percent market share. Samsung’s quarterly revenue since 2009 has hovered between $1.7 and $2.1 billion, helped by integration with its booming mobile device business, particularly smartphones.
Pricing strength helped drive the market growth, IHS said. Major contributors to NAND strength in the fourth quarter included smartphones and tablets, even though the growth of NAND flash usage in those markets is projected to slow in 2013. Solid-state drives also played a notable role, according to IHS.
Spansion entered the NAND flash market during this period with about $10 million of sales aimed mainly at NOR flash replacement. Macronix and Winbond are expected to enter the market shortly IHS does not expect these companies to take significant market share.
Click on image to enlarge.
Worldwide NAND flash memory sales and market share 2012 (revenue in $millions). Source: IHS March 2013.