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Electronics Production | June 10, 2011

NOR Flash memory finds growth opportunities

Driven by rising demand from a broad spectrum of products, particularly tablet devices like Apple's iPad and e-book readers such as Amazon’s Kindle, the embedded NOR flash market in 2011 is set to grow by a robust 8%, according to IHS iSuppli
A wide-ranging market, the embedded NOR flash memory segment includes all electronic products with the exception of cell phones. And in contrast to the dwindling sales of NOR for cell phones, the embedded NOR market is on a steady path of expansion.

Shipments of NOR memory chips for embedded applications in 2011 are set to rise to 3.96 billion units, up from 3.64 billion units in 2010. Stable growth of 7-9% every year is predicted for the next four years, with embedded NOR shipments climbing in 2015 to 5.41 billion units.

While the vast majority of embedded NOR shipments during the coming years will go to hard disk drives (HDDs) and PCs, tablets and e-book readers represent the fastest-growing sales opportunity for these flash memory devices.

Tablets like the iPad, and e-book readers like the Kindle from Amazon and the Nook from Barnes & Noble, this year will consume 80 million NOR chips, up a whopping 196% from 27 million units in 2010.

Of the 20 embedded NOR product categories tracked by IHS, tablets and e-readers as a category will boast the highest compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the period from 2010 to 2015, topping out at 53%, compared to an average of 8% for the embedded NOR market as a whole. In comparison, the second fastest-growing embedded NOR segment during the period will be Bluetooth, with a five-year CAGR of 16%. Tied for third will be automotive and gaming, at 10% apiece.

Hard drives and computers dominate market in 2011

The largest segments in 2011 for embedded NOR will be HDDs and PCs. HDDs, with anticipated shipments this year of 526 million units, will account for 13% of the embedded NOR market. The PC sector, with shipments of 383 million units, will make up 10%.

Other large embedded NOR segments in 2011 include optical disk drives, with 333 million units or 8% share; networking, with 277 million units or 7% share; and TVs, with 245 million units or 6% share.

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