NAND flash prices expected to plummet 8-13% in Q3

Did someone say cheap SSDs in time for the holidays?

While semiconductor supply chains remain a mess, if you’re in the market for a new SSD, you may be in luck.

The threat of a recession and increased competition in the memory business is causing NAND flash pricing to plummet, TrendForce reports. According to data from the market research biz, slowing demand across all segments of the NAND memory business has led to a glut of supply that’s only been made worse by cautious distributors and buyers unwilling to invest in additional capacity.

As a result, TrendForce predicts NAND flash prices will decline 8-13 percent in the third quarter of 2022, and may continue into the fourth quarter if demand doesn’t improve.

In the client SSD space, which encompasses flash storage used in PCs, analysts expect pricing will decline in line with the rest of the market, as OEMs curb their purchase orders to account for reduced demand. And with more chipmakers bringing 176-layer QLC SSDs to market, stronger competition could force prices even lower, as manufacturers attempt to incentivize clients to up their order volumes, TrendForce says.

The enterprise SSD market is facing similar challenges, as economic uncertainty fueled by rising interest rates leaves buyers unwilling to expand procurement, despite advantageous pricing. TrendForce attributes much of this to lackluster shipments of next-generation server platforms in China and generally lower demand from corporate enterprise.

These dynamics are expected to drive enterprise SSD pricing down by 5-10 percent over the next quarter.

For those in the market for some high-speed flash drives or memory cards, you may be in luck too. TrendForce predicts the universal flash storage (UFS) and embedded MMC memory sales will both decline over the next quarter, especially as UFS vendors, which have traditionally been resistant to pricing concessions, look to stimulate sales, the analyst group claims.

By far the hardest hit segment, according to the report, is NAND flash wafers, which were initially expected to rebound in the second half of the year. Now TrendForce is predicting NAND flash wafer pricing to slump by 15-20 percent in Q3, as demand continues to deteriorate and inventories balloon.

NAND flash isn’t the only chip segment taking a nosedive. As previously reported, TrendForce predicts DRAM prices will follow a similar trajectory, falling 3-8 percent in the third quarter.

Declining DRAM prices come as DDR5 memory begins hitting the market in larger volumes. For now, DDR5 is limited to the PC market. The first generation of DDR5-compatible server chips from AMD and Intel aren’t expected to hit the market until later this year. As such, TrendForce expects DDR5 pricing will fall by up to 5 percent in the third quarter. ®

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