DRAM, NAND markets set to grow in 2018
Semiconductor growth was led in 2017 by short supply and high average selling prices (ASPs) for DRAM and NAND in the mobile and data center markets. The memory market reached $126 million in 2017 – a remarkable 60 percent growth from 2016. It was expected to moderate in 2018 as bit growth was balanced with reduced ASPs but Yole forecasts that the memory market will remain strong in 2018 and $177 billion in 2018, with 40 percent growth followed by a flat 2019.
Yole estimates the DRAM market will be worth about $110 billion in 2018 before slipping back very slightly in 2019. The NAND flash memory market will be worth about $65 billion in 2018 before increasing slightly in 2019.
It is not clear whether Yole expects alternative stand-alone non-volatile memories – such phase-change or ReRAM – to make any in-roads into flash in the next few years.
Supply growth has been constrained across both DRAM and NAND due to a combination of limited wafer throughput and technological challenges. Even to the point that Chinese authorities are threatening to investigate leading DRAM manufacturers of cartel-like behavior (see China calls for DRAM price drop for second time).
At the same time as constrained supply trends towards machine learning, autonomous vehicles and the Internet of Things are increasing demand for DRAM, NAND and solid-state drives (SSDs). As a result bit growth is set to more than compensate for a fall in ASPs, Yole reckons.
Next: DRAM, NAND
Yole forecasts a compound annual growth rate for DRAM bit demand of 22 percent over the next five years. “New Chinese suppliers threaten the current market balance, and emerging memory technologies are poised to cannibalize huge chunks of DRAM demand while the demand drivers of the past, including PCs and smartphones lose steam and no longer push industry demand,” commented Mike Howards vice president of DRAM and memory research at Yole.
The NAND market is expected to set record high revenue in 2018, before a flattish 2019. The NAND landscape is dynamic with Intel emerging as competitor with capacity in China and Toshiba’s memory business sold to a consortium led by Bain Capital. China’s Yangtze Memory Technologies Co. (YMTC), threatens to disrupt the status-quo (see Three Chinese firms to launch memory IC production in 2018). Other significant Chinese developments include Hefei Chang Xin (Innotron Memory) and Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co. (JHICC).
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