Expect NAND flash demand to return by second half of 2016

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End-of-market demand for NAND flash is picking up and is expected to cause a supply-demand balance by the third quarter of 2016, according to DRAMeXchange.

After months of decline, prices of NAND flash are expected to stop falling by the third quarter of 2016 as end-of-market demand picks up, according to DRAMeXchange.

Sean Yang, research director of DRAMeXchange, saw a gradual pick up in the end-of-market demand for NAND flash partly due to Apple, which has been stocking up for its next iPhone release, as well as "the strong growth in the SSD market."

Apple's iPhone, which rolled out 64GB and 128GB storage options in 2015, has the single largest share of the overall NAND consumption for that year at 15%. Yang expects Apple to ramp up the demand for NAND flash as it raises the maximum storage capacity of the next iPhone to 256GB.

SSDs is another major application driving the NAND Flash market, according to the research director.

"Since the second quarter, rising prices of traditional HDDs have made Client-SSDs more attractive to consumers. The average selling price of SSDs is anticipated to drop further next year when manufacturers start to promote products based on 3D-NAND technology," Yang said.
TrendForce forecasts that the SSD adoption rate in the notebook market will exceed 50% by 2018."

Another factor, according to Yang, is the demand from Chinese smartphone brands that have also introduced new product models to the market.

Huawei Technologies, for example, has started rolling out mid- to high-end models that deliver higher capacity. Nikkei Asian Review reported that the Chinese smartphone giant "is planning to have such models account for more than 50% of its total, up from 30% last year."

Now with the demand ramping up, Yang forecast the global NAND flash market to shift away from oversupply and finally reach a balance in the third quarter, but the fourth quarter of the year will still "depend on sales momentum of the next iPhone and smartphone products."

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