The revenue of leading NAND Flash suppliers fell 3 percent quarter on quarter in Q1 2018. Contract prices of eMMC/UFS and SSD products will drop in Q2 2018 since the market is in oversupply, said TrendForce.
NAND Flash suppliers have slashed prices on products belonging to the standard and high-density categories such as 256GB SSDs and 128/256GB UFS to stimulate bit demand growth – indicating stable revenue for NAND Flash suppliers in Q2.
Stock-up demand related to the next iPhone release and the year-end season will stabilize prices of NAND Flash products.
NAND Flash demand from OEM has been constrained by surging prices for almost one year, so the latest development in price trend will spur OEMs in the PC and smartphone markets to upgrade the storage specifications of their upcoming products. The demand in the NAND Flash market will return to a state of healthy growth.
Samsung’s NAND Flash bit revenue dipped 5.6 percent in Q1 to $5.82 billion because of the seasonal headwinds that affected demand from the server/data center and the smartphone markets. The supplier also lowered the prices of its Client and Enterprise SSDs.
Samsung anticipates a demand growth spurt for SSDs once the recent NAND Flash prices decline reaches a satisfactory level. The prices decline will stimulate the Client SSD market and again accelerate SSD penetration among notebook PCs.
In the Enterprise SSD market, Samsung will be promoting its PCIe and high-density products with the expectation that lowering prices will increase the average content per box. Samsung will encourage smartphone OEMs to raise the storage specifications of their flagship devices.
SK Hynix’s bit shipments fell 10 percent in Q1 due the negative seasonality affecting the demand from the smartphone market. SK Hynix’s NAND Flash revenue fell 13.9 percent to $1.55 billion.
SK Hynix’s ASP was supported by the contract prices of its eMCP products and dropped by 1 percent.
Mobile NAND Flash products and MCP are the focus of SK Hynix’s sales efforts. Demand for smartphones was weak. Apple will start stocking up at the end of Q2. Chinese brands will increase the densities of their mid-range and high-end devices from 64/128GB to 128/256GB, said the report.
This turnaround in demand is expected to benefit SK Hynix’s revenue performance as well as sustaining its bit shipment growth.
Toshiba managed to marginally increase its NAND Flash bit shipments as it began shipping 64-layer 3D-NAND wafers to memory module makers. Toshiba’s ASP rose by nearly 10 percent due to the demand from the module makers and the increase in the average density of its shipped SSDs. Toshiba’s NAND Flash revenue rose 9.4 percent to $3.04 billion.
Western Digital’s bit shipments fell by more than 5 percent due to the seasonal influence, which also led to sliding shipments for the supplier’s notebook PC and server SSDs. Western Digital’s product prices have declined on account of the oversupply of NAND Flash and the inventory adjustments that occurred. The supplier’s ASP fell nearly 5 percent. NAND Flash revenue of Western Digital dropped 9.8 percent to $2.36 billion.
Micron is shifting its focus from chip and wafer shipments in the channel market to its branded storage products. Micron’s bit shipments rose by more than 10 percent. Micron’s ASP dropped almost 15 percent because of the sharp price decline for SSDs and 3D-NAND TLC wafers in the channel market. Micron’s NAND Flash revenue dipped 3.3 percent to $1.81 billion.
Intel’s bit shipments rose by nearly 30 percent due to demand for server SSDs. The price corrections in the NAND Flash market dragged down Intel’s ASP by about 10 percent. Intel posted 17 percent growth in NAND Flash revenue to $1.4 billion.