The prices for NAND flash memory and the SSDs based on it have only known one direction in recent years, namely downwards. The terabyte is now available for less than 40 euros, and not only in isolated cases. But like with RAM there are signs of a turnaround. Prices could rise again in the fourth quarter.
The market researchers from TrendForce assume that the prices for NAND flash in the fourth quarter of 2023, i.e. in the last quarter of the year from October, at least stabilize or even increase by up to 5 percent.
Further reduction in production
The cause is by no means a natural shortage due to high demand, but simply a countermeasure by memory manufacturers against the further drop in prices. Above all, the market leader should Samsung halve the production of its 3D NAND as early as this September. Although the focus is on older generations with fewer than 128 layers, the further reduced output is likely to noticeably shrink the high inventories and in turn cause sales prices to rise again. NAND flash is currently being sold at almost cost price, which means massively reduced revenue for manufacturers.
According to research by TrendForce Other manufacturers should follow Samsung’s example, but it won’t be more specific. However, they already had Kioxia and Micron started long in advance, to throttle their NAND production. Samsung is actually the last manufacturer to consider this measure. Because of its size, with a share of over 30 percent of global sales, Samsung’s move could, in the words of market researchers, now have a “Trigger a domino effect“.
What makes the manufacturers happy is the suffering of the end customers, because they will soon have to expect price increases for products such as SSDs and memory cards. The Pig cycle sends greetings.
But the first, less drastic countermeasures by NAND manufacturers are already apparently bearing fruit. Because in Sales report for the second quarter of 2023 calls TrendForce an increase in sales of 7.4 percent compared to the first quarter, which was also particularly weak. In addition, only Micron generated more sales with a whopping 27.6 percent SK Hynix with a 26.6 percent increase for growth. Samsung and Kioxia even had slightly lower sales.
In terms of market share, Samsung lost over 2 percentage points and still accounts for 31.1 percent of global sales. Kioxia follows with 19.6 percent, ahead of SK Hynix with Intel’s former division (now Solidigm) and Western Digital. Micron is only number 5 in the ranking, but increased its market share from 10.9 percent to 13 percent.