Client SSDs to face significant slowdown: TrendForce

TrendForce projects that the attach rate of client SSDs among notebook computers will reach 92 percent in 2022 and around 96 percent in 2023.
Lenovo Yoga 7i laptopClient SSDs constituted a major driver of demand bit growth in the NAND Flash market for the past two years as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were spurring procurement activities related to working and studying from home.

Among the major application segments of the NAND Flash market, client SSDs will also experience significant slowdown in demand. The YoY growth rate of NAND Flash demand bits will remain below 30 percent for the period from 2022 to 2025, TrendForce projects in a recent report.

The NAND Flash content of client SSDs has already surpassed 500GB this year. Quotes for 512GB SSDs have fallen sharply and come to a level that is roughly comparable to the quotes that were given for 256GB SSDs half-a-year ago.

Quotes for 512GB SSDs are near the level for HDDs with the same capacity. Upgrading to 1TB or higher for notebook SSDs could be challenging for PC OEMs mainly because the licensing fee for the Windows OS has a positive correlation with device specifications.

Therefore, an increase in SSD capacity will raise the cost of a whole notebook computer. With PC OEMs being less keen on adopting SSDs that are 1TB or higher, growth in the average NAND Flash content of client SSDs will also be more limited in the future.

Microsoft is encouraging PC OEMs to adopt UFS solutions for entry-level notebook computers that come with 128GB of storage. There are two reasons behind this development. First, the market for 128GB SSDs is shrinking. Second, compared with SATA, UFS has a price advantage and a comparable performance in terms of data transfer speed.

UFS solutions could replace low-capacity client SSDs for notebook storage. SSDs have experienced a steep price drop recently, so their price difference with UFS solutions has gotten smaller. Furthermore, there are no PC CPU platforms that natively support the faster data transfer speed offered by UFS 3.1.

For now, PC OEMs believe there is no need to make the switch since UFS solutions still lack a notable price advantage. Opportunities for adopting UFS solutions will only become more apparent when there is a clear price advantage and native support is available from CPU platforms.

TrendForce projects that NAND Flash demand bits related to client SSDs will increase 4.3 percent in 2022 and 11.6 percent in 2023. Growth rate of the NAND Flash content of client SSDs is projected to reach 18.2 percent in 2022 and shrink to 9.6 percent in 2023.

Enterprise SSDs will take over from client SSDs as a major driver of demand bit growth in the global NAND Flash market.

Samsung, SK Hynix, Kioxia, WDC, Seagate, Kingston, Micron, among others, are the leading players in the client SSDs market.