The NAND flash memory market is expected to register a CAGR of 11.27%, during the forecast period (2020 - 2025). The current macro trends of AI and machine learning, mobility, and connectivity are favorable to the NAND markets and expected to increase its share in the semiconductor market.
- With the rise of PCs and smartphones, NAND flash consumption is dramatically increasing, much of which is attributed to the growth of the average capacity in smartphones. This is expected to drive the demand for NAND flash packaging, thus influencing the demand for memory packaging.
- According to the Micron, in 2017, the average smartphone contained 43 GB of NAND flash storage, and it is expected to grow substantially over the next four years. By the year 2021, the company estimates that the average phone will have 142 GB of NAND flash storage, with flagship devices having one terabyte of flash storage.
- Other consumer products such as tablets and cameras, along with industrial equipment and sensors, automotive systems and medical devices rely upon flash memory, which are integrated alongside their processors, that stores both data and the code they execute. As demand for massive data processing for artificial intelligence and machine learning applications grows, the trend for flash-based storage will continue to evolve.
- Production of China-based NAND flash vendors were not severely affected by the outbreak of novel COVID-19. This is because the plants are highly automated have relatively low demands for manpower and operators also stocked up with raw materials before the Chinese Lunar New Year. Foundry output were delivered to customers in China because semiconductor fabrication plants hold national special licenses. These allow them to ship their products throughout domestic China, even with cities under quarantine.
Key Market Trends
Smartphone segment is Expected to Witness Significant Growth
- Flash Memory storage has become an essential component in smartphones. The NAND flash demand has been growing exponentially, primarily driven by the growth of the average capacity in smartphones.
- NAND flash memory in smartphones can significantly enhance the performance of web browsing, email loading, games, and even social network sites such as Facebook. With the increasing adoption of smartphones, companies are adding extra features and applications to differentiate their products from other manufacturers.
- For instance, manufacturers are integrating features such as gesture control, fingerprint scanners, and GPS into the devices. This is boosting the demand for NAND flash memory, which is used as code storage media for smartphones.
- With 5G wireless communication on its way, the use of smartphones would increase multifold, increasing the need for the latest models to raise the bar continuously. For instance, According to the Ericsson Mobility report, in the North American region, 5G subscriptions are expected to account for 55% of mobile subscriptions by the end of 2024.
Asia-Pacific to Hold Significant Market Share
- Asia Pacific is one of the biggest markets for NAND flash memories across the globe. The region has a very high demand from almost all the end-user applications, primarily led by the demand for smartphones in multiple developing countries in the region, such as China, India and Indonesia.
- Also, there is a high activity from the semiconductor fabrication facilities in countries like China, Korea, and Singapore. An immense amount of capital is directed into the Chinese market by several multinational memory manufacturers, especially boosted by the country’s government initiatives, such as Made in China 2025. The country’s ambitious goals is to reach USD 305 billion in semiconductor output by the year 2030 and meet at least 80% of the domestic demand for semiconductors, which is expected to draw more investments into the country, over the forecast period.
- Owing to such development in multiple countries, various competitors in the region are intensifying their efforts for expansion. For instance, as of February 2019, SK Hynix, one of the world’s largest memory-chip maker, announced that it is planning to invest a huge sum of USD 106 billion, primarily to establish four new semiconductor fabrication plants in South Korea.
The NAND flash memory market is dominated by major vendors, such as Intel, Micron Technology, Samsung Electronics, SanDisk, SK Hynix, and Toshiba. As the entry barriers in the market are high, the entry of new players is difficult. The existing vendors in the market are investing heavily in the R&D of new and innovative products.
- November 2019 - SK hynix delivered the samples of its solution products based on its128-layer 4D NAND, developed in June 2019. SK Hynix made these recent moves to strengthen its competitiveness in the NAND solution business. As the number of chips required to realize 1TB product has halved compared with using 512Gb NAND, the 1TB could be produced with a package thickness of only 1mm, which is optimal for ultra-thin 5G smartphones. Smartphones equipped with this product are expected to be mass-produced around the second half of the next year.
- August 2019 - Samsung introduced its sixth-generation V-NAND memory, which in a bid to further improve capacity and density, features over 100 active layers. To make V-NAND with over 100 layers viable from performance point of view, the company had to use new circuit design technology. The new memory features 10% lower latencies and consumes 15% lower amount of power when compared to Samsung's previous-generation V-NAND.
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