Quarterly DRAM & NAND snapshot: From bad to worse in Q1 2019

Combined DRAM and NAND revenue was $26.8 billion in Q1 2019, down 26% from Q4, and down 30% year-over-year as weak market conditions exiting 2018 were exacerbated by seasonally slow demand in Q1.

Yole Développement (Yole) comes back to you today with a detailed analysis of the DRAM & NAND markets, Q1, 2019. Beyond the megatrends still present in this huge competitive landscape, analysts propose today a relevant and up-to-date overview of the memory industry with key figures and detailed analysis of the players’ positioning.

What are the latest news coming from the memory industry? What is the status of the market indicators? Is the market still growing? What are the revenues of each key memory players? What are their strategies, facing to the market evolution?…

The market research & strategy consulting company presents for you today its quarterly snapshot of the DRAM & NAND industries.

NAND market: searching for the bottom

NAND market conditions worsened in Q1 2019, with continued downward pricing momentum and seasonally weak demand. Quarterly revenue was $10.0 billion, down 23% from Q4 2018 and down 34% year-over-year. Blended NAND prices fell ~25% during Q1-19, due to a combination of soft demand and excess supply/inventory. Bit shipments were up only 2% in the quarter. NAND supplier inventory rose during Q1-19, despite slowing production growth from previously announced capex reductions and utilization cuts.

NAND market shares were relatively stable in Q1 2019:

  • Samsung remained the market share leader with 32% of the total revenue, unchanged from Q4 2018.
  • Toshiba (TMC) maintained the second position with 21% of revenue, followed by Western Digital at 15%, Micron at 13%, SK Hynix at 11%, and finally Intel at 7%.
  • The remaining players accounted for about 1% of NAND industry revenue. 

Despite disappointing NAND results in Q1-19, market conditions should progressively improve through the rest of the year; but hopes for a sharp bounce-back are shrinking. Difficult market conditions persist, but demand is expected to outpace production growth in the second half of the year led by an anticipated recovery in datacenter spend.

The DRAM market: winter has come

The DRAM market tumbled dramatically in Q1 2019. Quarterly revenue fell 27.2% in Q1 2019, to $16.8 billion. Prices fell 24.5% during the quarter and shipments were down 3.5%. The decline in shipments is of concern as suppliers likely grew production during the quarter, indicating inventory levels at suppliers continued to grow during Q1 2019.

The DRAM oligopoly of Samsung, SK Hynix, and Micron remained largely unchanged in Q1 2019 although Samsung did surrender a small amount of market share to SK Hynix and Micron. Given the capital expenditure plans for 2019 we do not expect significant shifts in manufacturing market share this year.

Unfortunately for the DRAM market, it looks like there are still several quarters of rapidly falling prices to go before the industry can recover. The first half of 2019 is shaping up to be rather ugly for DRAM suppliers with prices expected to fall nearly 40% by the middle of the year. Given the messy state of the industry, we do not anticipate a recovery until 2020.

Memory business: what’s next?

Yole’s analysts are working with the leading memory players to collect valuable market and technology data. They collaborate with them to understand their vision of the industry and evaluate the market growth and technological evolution on an ongoing basis.

Each quarter, Yole invites you to discover the status of the memory industry with its DRAM and NAND Quarterly Market Monitor services. These services provide a deep understanding of the market, its current status, and near- and long-term outlooks.

In addition, the team attends a selection of key conferences and trade shows all year long. These events provide opportunities for Yole’s memory experts to share their vision of the industry and debate with leading players.

Save the date right now with the next events:

To organize a meeting with them, feel free to contact us. Contact: Camille Veyrier

About the authors:

Mike Howard is a member of the memory team at Yole Développement (Yole) as VP of DRAM and Memory Research.
Mike’s mission at Yole is to deliver a comprehensive understanding of the entire memory and semiconductor landscape (with special emphasis on DRAM) via market updates and Market Monitors. Mike is also deeply involved in the business development of all memory activities. Mike is based in the US.
Mike has a deep understanding of the DRAM and memory markets with a valuable combination of industry and market research experience. For the decade prior to joining Yole, Mike was the Senior Director of DRAM and Memory Research at IHS. Before IHS, Mike worked at Micron Technology where he had roles in corporate development, marketing, and engineering.
Mike earned a Master of Business Administration at The Ohio State University (United-States), a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and a Bachelor of Arts in Finance at the University of Washington (Washington, United-States).

Walt Coon joins Yole Développement’s memory team as VP of NAND and Memory Research, part of the Semiconductor & Software division.
Based in the US, Walt is leading the day-to-day production of both market updates and Market Monitors, with a focus on the NAND market and semiconductor industries. In addition, he is deeply involved in the business development of these activities.
Walt has significant experience within the memory & semiconductor industry. He spent 16 years at Micron Technology, managing the team responsible for competitor benchmarking, and industry supply, demand, and cost modeling. His team also supported both corporate strategy and Mergers & Acquisitions analysis. Previously, he spent time in Information Systems, developing engineering applications to support memory process and yield enhancement.
Walt Coon earned a Master of Business Administration from Boise State University (Idaho, United-States) and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Utah (United-States).

Related monitors: