NAND Market Set for Big Growth in 2011 Due to Phone, Tablet Sales

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2011-01-20 Print this article Print

Industry researcher iSuppli predicts NAND flash revenue this year will reach $22.0 billion, up 18 percent from $18.7 billion in 2010 (itself a 38 percent rise over 2009).

Apple and several other companies aren't only changing the world as we know it when it comes to portable phones, music devices, and tablet PCs. They also are recharging the supply markets in a big way.

Because NAND flash memory provides the storage media for most of those consumer electronics devices, companies that produce it are positioned for another year of double-digit percentage growth in 2011, according to new research released Jan. 20 by industry analyst IHS iSuppli.

iSuppli predicts that NAND flash revenue this year will reach $22 billion, up 18 percent from $18.7 billion in 2010 (itself a 38 percent rise from 2009).

The increase in revenue will be accompanied by an even larger upsurge in NAND bit growth. That is projected to soar 72 percent in 2011 to 19.3 billion gigabytes, the El Segundo, Calif.-based researcher reported.

"Buoyed by the success of Apple's iPad, NAND flash will likely enjoy explosive growth in 2011 with the arrival of tablet products from other players, such as Samsung, Dell and Research In Motion," Michael Yang, senior analyst for memory and storage at iSuppli, said in the report.

The biggest segment of NAND demand historically has been commodity flash, exemplified by its use in USB flash drives and bundled microSD memory cards for cameras. Those markets, however, are expected to dwindle over time as other uses for the solid-state memory take precedence, iSuppli said.

Despite the strong growth, Yang wrote, a shift in market conditions will likely occur by the end of 2011. Historically, the NAND flash market has been one of severe volatility, because international demand and production have had difficulty getting into a consistent ebb-and-flow rhythm.

Given the optimism now surrounding the market and the likelihood of overspending on manufacturing on the part of suppliers, Yang said, risks to the industry could surface by the close of 2011 when supply is likely to surge ahead of demand. iSuppli predicts a slight downturn in 2012, after which the market will recover in 2013 and then rise again the year after.

In the meantime, however, things look good overall in the flash market for the next 12 to 14 months.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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