In a dynamic shift, the NAND Flash market witnessed a transformational narrative during the third quarter of 2023, driven by pivotal decisions from industry leaders and market response to evolving supply dynamics. TrendForce’s latest report reveals the nuanced interplay of factors that shaped this quarter’s trajectory.
Top suppliers in the NAND Flash market are Samsung, SK Hynix, WDC, Kioxia, Micron, among others.
Samsung’s Production Cuts Spark Industry Rethink
At the crux of this narrative lies Samsung’s strategic move to curtail production, initially casting a cloud of uncertainty over end-user demand. The market response was one of cautious optimism, with buyers adopting conservative inventory strategies amid fears of a subdued peak season.
However, as Samsung and other industry leaders executed production cuts, buyer sentiments pivoted towards aggressive procurement tactics, anticipating a looming supply shortage. This shift contributed to a stabilization and subsequent uptick in NAND Flash contract prices by quarter-end, yielding a 3 percent quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) increase in bit shipments and a total revenue of US$9.229 billion — an approximate 2.9 percent surge.
Samsung’s Resilience Amid Sectoral Fluctuations
Samsung emerged as a stalwart in this landscape, weathering sectoral fluctuations and witnessing a rebound in fortunes despite sluggish demand in the server sector. This resurgence was fueled by heightened consumer electronics demand, particularly in high-capacity products within PCs and smartphones.
Leveraging strategic inventory replenishments and an operational focus on maximizing profit, Samsung navigated a minor decrease of 1–3 percent in shipped bits but countered it with a 1–3 percent increase in ASP, stabilizing Q3 NAND Flash revenue at US$2.9 billion.
Kioxia and Micron Navigate Challenges
In contrast, Kioxia experienced a 3 percent increase in Q3 ASP, propelled by rebounding wafer contract prices and early strategic stockpiling by laptop clients. However, a delay in orders from American smartphone brands resulted in a 10–15 percent decrease in shipped bits, leading to a dip in NAND Flash revenue to US$1.34 billion — a noticeable 8.6 percent decline in QoQ.
Micron faced steady orders from the PC and mobile sectors but encountered a 15 percent drop in ASP, impacting revenue to US$1.15 billion — a 5.2 percent decrease in QoQ. However, an optimistic outlook prevails for Micron in Q4, foreseeing robust growth exceeding 20 percent, driven by price hikes and a comprehensive rebound in contract prices.
SK Group and WDC Ride the Wave of Renewed Demand
SK Group and WDC capitalized on the resurgence of consumer electronics demand. SK Group’s steady increase in bit shipments propelled Q3 NAND Flash revenue to US$1.86 billion — an 11.9 percent uptick. WDC mirrored this success, driven by resilient demand in PC, mobile, and gaming categories, culminating in a significant 13 percent climb in QoQ revenue to US$1.556 billion.
The NAND Flash market in 3Q23 witnessed a paradigm shift, underlining the pivotal influence of strategic decisions by key players and the dynamic response of buyers in shaping industry trajectories. As the landscape evolves further, the market remains poised for continued transformation and adaptation in the quarters ahead.