The market for NAND flash memory is being forecast to top the IC product growth list in 2012.
Fueled by the growth of consumer mobile devices, particularly smartphones & tablet PC’s, coupled with demand increase for SSD’s, the total NAND market is being forecast to surpass the total DRAM market for the first time ever in 2012. NAND flash has been a top-growing IC market segment for several successive years.
According to an IC Insights Research Bulletin, 27 of the 33 major IC product categories are forecast to experience market growth in 2012, with 11 of those segments to grow by 8% or more. Six categories are forecast for double-digit growth this year. This represents a turnaround from 2011, when only 15 product categories experienced growth and 18 categories experienced a decline.
The strong demand for NAND flash and continued weakness in DRAM average selling prices will result in a 15% growth rate for the flash product segment. The myriad of applications processors utilized in tablet PCs and smartphones, and 32-bit MCUs, are being forecast to also see a 15% growth rate this year.
Four memory categories (six total segments) — NOR flash, SRAM, EEPROM/other, DSP, Gate Array, and DRAM are expected to have negative growth for the second year in a row. It was as recently as 2010 that DRAM was the fastest growing segment. Realizing these growth forecasts in NAND flash should help keep availability high, and exert downward pressure on prices. These factors should further help SSD’s experience a banner growth year in 2012.