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© luchschen dreamstime.com Components | December 21, 2012

Total Flash memory market will surpass DRAM for first time in 2012

Boosted by sales of portable media devices, NAND flash sales alone will exceed DRAM in 2013, writes IC Insights.
Driven by continued demand for smartphones, tablet PCs, and other personal media devices, the total flash memory market (NAND and NOR) is forecast to grow 2% to $30.4 billion in 2012, surpassing the $28.0 billion DRAM market in sales for the first time.

With the exception of 2010, the DRAM and flash memory markets have been growing closer in size to each other for several years but demand for flash used in portable media devices, coupled with two years of weaker demand and price erosion for commodity DRAM used in personal computers will finally be enough to push total flash sales beyond those for DRAM this year.

Among portable media devices, smartphones shipments are projected to finish the year up 55% to 750 million units and shipments of tablet computers are forecast to rise 80% to 117 million units.

Through 2017, the flash memory market is expected to widen its lead over DRAM. In fact, IC Insights forecasts the NAND flash memory market alone will be larger than the DRAM market beginning in 2013. Among more than 30 product segments classified by WSTS, NAND flash is forecast to have the third-highest average annual growth rate through 2017, trailing only the market growth rates for tablet processors and cellphone application processors.

NAND flash sales are forecast to increase 14% annually from 2012-2017, growing to $53.2 billion at the end of the forecast period while the DRAM market is forecast to grow 9% annually over this same time.

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