Market Watch

Kingston Expands Lead in DRAM Module Business


In first half of 2010, company gains 45.8 percent market share
Leading supplier Kingston Technology Corp. padded its dominance of the third-party DRAM module business in the rst half of 2010, as it used its prodigious buying power during a time of rising module costs to gain share, according to the market research rm iSuppli, now part of IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS).

Kingston during the first six months of 2010 sold $2.6 billion worth of DRAM modules, a 45.6 percent rise from the second half of 2009. This gave the company a 45.8 percent share of the global third-party DRAM, up from 39.6 percent in the second half of 2009. Kingston’s performance massively outperformed the overall DRAM module market, which expanded by 26 percent during the same period.

 DRAM Module Ranking

Kingston in the first half effectively used its DRAM module market dominance as a competitive weapon against its smaller rivals. Because of its large size, Kingston has more buying power than any other third-partly module maker, allowing it to obtain more favorable pricing for DRAM. Kingston passed on these lower prices to its customers, undercutting the competition.

Kingston’s flexible sales strategy enabled it to capitalize on opportunities as they arose in the first half.

With large quantities of DRAM on hand, Kingston is nimble enough to shift its sales to the customer base that will generate the highest profit at any given time, whether to PC makers or directly to consumers.

To put Kingston’s performance into perspective, the company’s revenue in the first half rose by $802 million sequentially—more than twice the amount of the next four largest suppliers combined.

Kingston’s market share gains came at the expense of nearly every other third-party DRAM module maker. All of the other Top 5 suppliers suffered sequential declines in market share in the first half.

A Strong First Half for Modules
Kingston’s robust performance came amid a period of strong expansion for the global third-party DRAM module business.

Module sales were propelled by the recovery in the PC business in early 2010. Global PC shipments rose by 22.8 percent in the first half of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009.

The PC industry recovery was amplified in the module business. Module market conditions recovered dramatically in 2010 after a 2009 when the situation was exceedingly dismal because of an oversupply of products and a rise in inventories—events that led to a major decline in pricing. 

With the situation improving so dramatically, global third-party DRAM module revenue in the first half of 2010 amounted to 75 percent of the revenue for the entire year of 2009.

Peak Year
While market growth is slowing in the second half, 2010 will still be a great year for the DRAM module market.

The entire DRAM module market, including both third-party suppliers like Kingston as well as DRAM companies that produce their own devices, will amount to $31 billion in 2010, up 73 percent from $18 billion in 2009.

This year will represent the peak of the DRAM module market for the next several years, with revenue declining from 2011 through 2013. Although the DRAM content per module will continue to rise for the foreseeable future, DRAM chip price declines will decrease more quickly, causing revenue to decline.

Read More > DRAM Modules: 2010 A Banner Year, So Where Do Modules Go From Here?