2013 is already off to a great start for the NAND flash memory market. By the end of 2012, NAND took the lead over DRAM by shipping over $30 billion while DRAM shipped just over $28 billion. The demand for mobile devices is steadily increasing, and coupled with weak demand and price deterioration on the DRAM side, NAND is expected to once again surpass DRAM this year.
NAND growth to continue
Shipments of smartphones and tablet computers will hit new record highs in 2013. Both of these devices rely heavily on NAND flash memory for storage. Consumers are always looking for more room to hold their pictures, movies, etc. Even lower-end phones like feature phones contain features that heavily utilize NAND.
As we move further through January 2013 and into Chinese New Year, oversupply will once again become a hot topic in the NAND market. Demand typically slows down the second half of January, and so wafer production is expected to hold steady for now. NAND manufacturers are also working to improve both price and yield rate for the newer 20nm die. However, heading into 2Q13, prices will decline. This pricing situation could change if the retail market picks up, but as we saw in 4Q2012, our high expectations were met with disappointment Excitement from CES last week and the trove of new CE offerings may provide helpful drivers and support good demand, but there is a bit of a wait and see right now..
Last month, we discussed expectations for NAND in 2013. It looks like those expectations will remain the same for now. Vendors and manufacturers are still viewing 1H13 with hesitation in order to avoid some of the wild changes we saw last summer. If the long-range forecasts hold true through 2017, NAND will come in as the third highest average annual growth rate behind tablet processors and cellphone application processors.