NAND memory market rockets

The NAND memory market is slated to hit $30 billion this year, up 12 percent over $26.8 billion in 2012.

The leading driver of NAND sales will remain smartphones, although this should change down the road as the smartphone market matures.

According to IC Insights, smartphones will account for about 26 percent of total NAND sales this year. SSDs rank second at 13 percent, while tablets and media players – yes, they still exist – will get 12 percent each. USB sticks and memory cards will account for 11 and eight percent respectively.

The figures reveal a few interesting trends. Smartphones tend to use nine times as much flash memory as feature phones, and smartphones are expected to represent 56 percent of all phone shipments this year. In other words, although the amount of internal storage in smartphones is not growing much, on average any smartphone will need more NAND than a feature phone.

SSDs are becoming an increasingly important driving factor in NAND sales. They are slowly replacing traditional hard drives in notebooks, but perhaps more importantly they are gaining a lot of traction in the server market. Their high speed, reliability and low power consumption make them a better choice for many server applications, as they are more economical in the long run.

As for memory cards, USB sticks and media players, they are going out of style faster than Gangnam style.

Cloud services are starting to render USB sticks redundant, at least when it comes to average consumers. Handheld media players are on their way out, as they are being replaced by smartphones and tablets.

Memory cards are also falling out of favour, as fewer and fewer companies use them on mobile gear. They are still big in the digital camera space, but on the other hand the once lucrative compact camera market is in a downward spiral. It is simply another victim of the smartphone boom.