Components | July 04, 2012

2HJun. mainstream NAND flash contract price falls 3-5%

According to DRAMeXchange, as a result of the quarter- end effect and inventory control strategies, average mainstream NAND Flash contract price fell 3-5% in 2HJun.
Although some NAND Flash vendors adopted aggressive price strategies to attract buyers, other manufacturers, placing greater priority on profits, were more conservative. As the European debt crisis will continue to affect the NAND flash market in the second half of 2012, buyers are conservative in terms of inventory buildup. In addition to low economic visibility and weaker than expected NAND Flash demand, TrendForce anticipates the NAND Flash market will be affected by the following supply and demand factors:

1. NAND Flash Supply In 2Q, June saw the lowest NAND Flash price decline. The significant price decline and weaker than expected yield rate for 20nm-class processes so far this year has placed great pressure on NAND Flash manufacturers’ profits in the past few quarters.

The universal flash drive and memory card markets have been especially challenging for NAND Flash vendors; system product shipments that did not meet expectation in the first half of 2012, adding to suppliers’ difficulties. Therefore, in consideration of the supply and demand outlook for the second half of the year and manufacturers’ product mixes, some NAND Flash vendors have adjusted yearly bit output growth downward for 2012.

2. NAND Flash Demand As universal flash drive demand has been weak since 1Q this year, leading manufacturers adopted aggressive price reduction strategies to stimulate demand, but did not see significant results. Furthermore, the rise of cloud storage services has weakened consumer demand for flash drives.

Additionally, affected by the delay of Ivy Bridge shipments, USB 3.0 penetration rate has not increased significantly, another key factor affecting the flash drive market. Delayed smartphone, tablet PC, and ultrabook shipments in the first half of the year also contributed to the current state of the NAND Flash market.

In summary, heading into the peak sales season in the second half of 2012, the majority of new smartphone, tablet PC, and ultrabook models will enter mass production in 3Q, and buyers’ stocking of the new products may stimulate NAND Flash demand. On the supply side, NAND Flash manufacturers’ conservative attitudes towards bit output should help stabilize the industry in the short term. Thus, TrendForce believes the NAND Flash market will fare better in July than it did in 2Q, with a relatively stable price trend.
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