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SSD Units Grew 22% from 4Q12 to 1Q13 – Trendfocus

Leaders being in order Samsung, SanDisk, Toshiba and Intel

The NAND market continued to heat up, as NAND supply was tight in CQ1 ’13 due to healthy demand and supply constraints. Nevertheless, the SSD market grew from the prior quarter to 13.28 million, up 22% quarter on quarter.

In CQ1, the client SSD market was up 19% sequentially to 12.06 million. Enterprise SSD growth rates continue to outpace any seasonal server or storage system softness – this market was up 66% from CQ4 ’12, to 1.22 million.

Client SSDs were dominated by NAND suppliers, especially Samsung, who took the lead in selling TLC (3bit/cell) into PC OEMs and the retail channel. Toshiba and SanDisk, who had been the main drivers for TLC in the industry up to this point, could not sustain the momentum and lost share in the market.

The enterprise SSD market is gaining more traction in data centers and cloud storage, as the $/GB metric decreased to levels low enough to drive an inflection in demand. TCO and performance arguments are far more compelling at today’s $/GB levels and with costs expected to continue downward, enterprise SSD adoption will continue to grow at rates outpacing other storage devices.

        Total SSD Market by Application

Units in million  CQ1 ’13
 CQ1 ’14
 Client SSDs      
 Stand-Alone Units    7.073   10.180   44%
 Cache Units    4.986    8.319   67%
 Total   12.059   18.499   53%
 Enterprise SSDs      
 SATA Units    1.009    1.151   14%
 SAS Units    0.170    0.198   16%
 PCIe Units    0.037    0.042   14%
 Total    1.216    1.391   14%
 Total SSD Units  13.275  19.890  50%

(Source: Trendfocus, May 2013)

           Total NAND Market Share by Technology
 (Source: Trendfocus, May 2013)

  • MLC dominated the NAND market in CQ1 with 77.9% share, up 8% quarter on quarter.
  • TLC (3bit/cell) is gaining traction and rose 8% from quarter-to-quarter.
  • Samsung is the only company shipping TLC-based SSDs in volume.
  • SLC is declining quickly as demand transitions to MLC, except in certain high performance, high-endurance applications such as military, industrial, medical and automotive.

                         Spot Market Pricing of SSDs
   (Source: Trendfocus, May 2013)

  • Price for SSDs in the spot market continues to rise due to constrained NAND supply. OEM and large-scale contracts can be markedly different than spot market pricing.
  • 256GB SSD increased 57% from $145 in January to $227 in first week of May.
  • 128GB SSD increased 87% since January to $140.

    SSD Supplier Market Share in 1Q13

 in million
 of units
 Client  Enterprise  Total  Share
 Samsung  4.092      0.060  4.152  31.3%
 SanDisk  2.200      0.026  2.226  16.8%
 Toshiba  1.222      0.000  1.222   9.2%
 Intel  0.832      0.025  0.857   6.5%
 HGST  0.000      0.094  0.094   0.7%
 STEC  0.000      0.044  0.044   0.3%
 Others  3.713      0.967  4.680  35.3%
 Total 12.059      1.216 13.275  100%

 (Source: Trendfocus, May 2013)


Now Trendfocus is becoming a serious analyst firm in SSDs after being concentrated for several years on HDDs disk heads and media only. Other ones in this flash sector include IDC and IHS iSuppli.

It's a difficult job because there are over 100 SSD makers around the world. It's easier to track HDDs with only three manufacturers remaining.

What is published above is a small abstract of the 29 pages of the Trenfocus report NAND/SSD Information Service - May 13, 2013, CQ1'13 Quarterly Update.

We just found the Californian analysts relatively conservative concerning the growth of the enterprise PCIe SSD market compared to the SAS one, and more globally on enterprise SSDs.