iSuppli cuts NAND flash sales growth

Amid signs that major buyers are slashing their expected order growth for NAND-type flash in 2008, iSuppli has slashed its forecast of sales growth for the memory this year by about two-thirds

The analyst firm now expects global NAND flash memory sales to total $15.2bn in 2008, up 9 per cent from $13.9bn in 2007. The previous forecast put growth at 27 per cent in 2008 to reach $17.9bn, following a terrible year for NAND pricing in 2007.

"The major factor behind the diminished outlook is weakening consumer spending," said Nam Hyung Kim, director and chief analyst for memory ICs and storage systems at iSuppli.

"NAND flash is used heavily in consumer-electronics applications -including MP3 players, USB flash drives and digital still cameras - which are driven by retail sales to consumers. Spending growth on these items is expected to slow in 2008 compared to 2007 due to the US subprime mortgage crisis and its collateral impact on worldwide consumers and economies. In light of this development, the world's largest buyers of NAND-type flash will slow their spending growth in 2008."

Apple, the world's third-largest OEM buyer of NAND flash, has slashed its expected 2008 order growth forecast. "iSuppli now predicts Apple's spending on NAND-type flash memory will rise 12 per cent to reach $1.4bn in 2008, up from $1.2bn in 2007," said Min-Sun Moon, analyst for OEM semiconductor spending and design influence at iSuppli. "Before word of Apple's cut in its expected order growth, iSuppli had predicted the company's NAND flash purchases would rise by 32.2 per cent this year, reaching $1.6bn. iSuppli's new forecast means Apple will spend $400m less on NAND flash in 2008 than previously expected, an event that will have a major impact on the worldwide memory market."

SanDisk, the world's largest NAND flash buyer in 2007, now is expected to purchase $2.2bn worth of the memory in 2008, up 8.4 per cent from $2bn in 2007, according to data from iSuppli. SanDisk's NAND spending growth was originally forecast to rise by 33 per cent in 2008.

The world's second-largest NAND flash buyer in 2007, Sony, now is expected to buy $1.4bn worth of NAND-type flash in 2008, up 6.8 per cent from $1.3bn in 2007. iSuppli previously predicted the company's spending would rise by 16 percent this year.

 The worldwide average per-megabyte price for NAND flash memory declined by 36 per cent in the first quarter, which should be followed by a 13 per cent decrease in the second quarter, iSuppli predicted.

Image: NAND flash prices should stabilise in the second quarter

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