DRAM, NAND flash to be 2 fastest growing chips this year says new report

DRAM and NAND flash memory semiconductors are expected to be the two chip products that outshine this year, a report showed Saturday, boding well for South Korean chipmakers that dominate the world market.

Sales growth for the two are projected to be 18 percent and 17 percent, respectively, making them the sharpest-growing chips among the 33 integrated circuit (IC) products available in 2021, according to the McClean Report released by market tracker IC Insights.

DRAM, or dynamic random-access memory, is a volatile semiconductor memory that retains data as long as power is supplied. It is commonly used in personal computers, workstations and servers.

“Laying claim as the fastest growing IC product segment is familiar territory for the DRAM market,” IC Insights said. “DRAM was also ranked as the fastest-growing IC segment in 2013, 2014, 2017, and 2018.”

NAND flash memory is a type of non-volatile storage that does not require power to store data.

“The transition to 5G technology within many of these same computing applications and smartphones is forecast to boost NAND revenue growth 17 percent in 2021,” the market tracker said.

Both DRAM and NAND are the main products for South Korea’s two largest chipmakers ― Samsung Electronics and SK hynix.

As of the third quarter of 2020, Samsung dominated the global DRAM market with a 41.3 percent share, with SK hynix coming in second with 28.2 percent, according to market researcher TrendForce.

In the NAND market, Samsung held a 33.1 percent share in the third quarter, while SK hynix had 11.4 percent.

IC Insights’ outlook is in line with the two companies’ 2021 forecast for their memory business announced earlier this week.

Samsung said its business, specifically the DRAM market, is expected to see a recovery during the first half thanks to strong demand from mobile device manufacturers and server applications, although geopolitical and economic uncertainties remain.

SK hynix projected DRAM demand growth to be around the high 10 percent and 20 percent range, and that of NAND to be in the low 30 percent range.

Meanwhile, IC Insights said five IC product segments were projected to outpace the entire IC market growth in 2021.

In addition to DRAM and NAND, two automotive IC products, application-specific analog and special purpose logic chips, as well as embedded microprocessors are expected to grow faster that the total IC market’s growth of 12 percent.