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

 
 
By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2011-01-20
 
 
 

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.

Rocket Fuel