Revenue for the flash memory market by year-end is projected to decline to $24.3 billion, down 4.7 percent from 25.5 percent from $25.5 billion in 2011. The NAND segment this year will account for $20.8 billion and the NOR sector will make up the remainder at $3.5 billion.
While this year’s numbers are slightly down from 2011 because of a larger-than-expected erosion in NAND prices, the market will bounce back next year with growth of 11.4 percent, and then continue to expand at a steady clip. By 2016, total flash memory revenue will amount to $33.3 billion, equivalent to a five-year compound growth rate of 5.3 percent, as shown in the figure below.
“The action in the NOR and NAND flash memory market largely is being driven by mobile handsets,” said Michael Yang, senior principal analyst for memory & storage at IHS. “Flash memory growth is due in large part to mobile handsets. With Apple and Samsung leading the way, phones today are constantly being refreshed with the latest features and processors—requiring more powerful memory products, in turn.”
NOR, which blossomed in the early years of the handset business, continues to be used in lower-cost
cellphones, despite ongoing market share losses in its total market to rival NAND. NAND flash, meanwhile, is enjoying high demand as consumers migrate to smartphones, in which data storage in the phones takes advantage of NAND cost, scale and die size.
NOR Struggles to Find its Way
The NOR industry continues to contract, with the latest retreat occurring in the second quarter.
NOR revenue fell to $837 million, down 4.6 percent from the earlier quarter, and down by an even steeper 28.2 percent from the second quarter a year ago in 2011.
NOR’s troubles come from the wireless sector, where it is being squeezed by lower-cost NAND-based solutions emulating NOR capabilities
NAND Success Continues
Unlike the struggling NOR flash space, the rival NAND flash sector is flourishing despite a temporary setback this year that saw an erosion in average selling prices cut into total anticipated revenue.