The global non-volatile market (henceforth referred to as the market studied) was valued at USD 52.54 billion in 2020, and it is expected to reach a value of USD 109.71 billion by 2026, while registering a CAGR of 13.27% during the period of 2021 - 2026 (henceforth referred to as the forecast period).
- In the last decade, the growth of the portable systems market has attracted the interest of the semiconductor industry in non-volatile memory (NVM) technologies for mass storage applications. The rise in demand for greater efficiency, faster memory access, and low-power consumption are some of the major factors that are driving the NVM market growth.â€‹Also, the adoption of flash memories in consumer electronics due to its low price and power consumption is seen as a significant factor for the growth of the market. NVM is used in smartphones and wearable devices to enable more storage and faster memory access.â€‹
- The market players have been continuously investigating the next-generation memory capability technologies as the potential alternatives to the existing memories in the future computing systems.â€‹ Moreover, the increasing research activities in this space would further drive the marketâ€™s growth. For instance, in January 2020, Researchers from the University of Lancaster in the United Kingdom succeeded in their efforts to create a type of non-volatile flash memory, which is as fast as DRAM but uses just 1% of the energy that modern-day NAND or DRAM memory needs to write bits of data. The memory is called UK III-V Memory.
- The electronics devices are anticipated to be impacted significantly by the COVID-19 outbreak, as China is one of the major suppliers for the raw materials and the finished products. The industry is in the midst of facing a reduction in production, disruption in the supply chain, and price fluctuations. The sales of prominent electronic companies are expected to be affected in the near future. This would hamper the marketâ€™s growth in the short run.â€‹ Many end-user industries across different nations were affected by the pandemic resulting in the shutdown of various business operations. For instance, the introduction of lockdowns in India indicated shutting all sectors and activities. These lockdown implementations lead to a massive impact on every industry, with the majority of the businesses suffering losses.â€‹â€‹
- Despite the COVID-19 outbreak, which negatively impacted the smartphone industries but spurred demand for server and PC memory for stay-at-home activities, 2020 is expected to be a year of recovery. Driven by important megatrends, like cloud computing, AI, and the IoT, the memory market has experienced extraordinary growth over the past decade. â€‹
Key Market Trends
Flash Memory to hold Significant Share Among Traditional Non-Volatile Memory
- With the growing demand and penetration of consumer electronics, the application of flash memory in devices is on the rise. The memory type finds applications in laptops, digital cameras, cell phones, GPS, electronic musical instruments, and many others. In addition to this, the memory type is finding increased adoption from data center solution vendors, with the exponential projected growth in the adoption of cloud solutions, the demand for data centers is surging. â€‹
- Moreover, with the increased propensity toward the use of AI/ML applications, which require vast amounts of low latency and high throughput flash storage, cloud storage, and enterprise data center are being optimized to train deep neural networks. For such solutions, flash memory is increasingly preferred, and with the growth in the number and size of data centers. The demand is expected to augment further. For instance, according to Cisco Systems, during Q2 2020, the number of hyperscale data centers across the world stood at 541, and it increased by 7.34% compared to the previous year. â€‹
- In order to cater to the growing demand, vendors are increasingly developing new solutions with better capabilities. For instance, during the first quarter of 2020, YMTC launched its new 3D NAND stacking architecture, which uses two wafers for their 64-layer 3D NAND memory instead of a single wafer used in conventional 3D NAND memories. The CMOS periphery and the NAND Array wafer are manufactured separately. The wafers are connected by vertical interconnection. CMOS-based solutions are expected to gain traction in the market, owing to low power consumption, as more and more OEMs are looking to reduce power consumption in their devices. â€‹
- YMTC, which is one the major vendor in the market, is increasingly developing innovative solutions as part of its Flash Memory product offering. For example, in April 2020, the company introduced 128 Layer 1.33Tb QLC 3D NAND flash memory chip X2-6070. Such developments are expected to be part of the competitive strategy of vendors operating in this space. â€‹
Asia Pacific to Hold Significant Share
- The construction of new infrastructure, including data centers, has been picking up speed in China, fueled by a surge in demand for telecommuting, online entertainment, and voice and video call services. With the rapid development of the digital economy, the trend of building large big data centers in the country is becoming more prominent. This leads to the growth in the usage of non-volatile memory in such data centers, which will help reduce any downtime caused by a system crash or power failure event, thus providing significant financial value.â€‹
- Moreover, China is entering the flash memory segment with aggressive plans, in the NAND business, Yangtze Memory Technologies Co. Ltd. (YMTC) is one of China's significant memory makers. The company is temporarily shipping 64L NAND domestically in low volumes, including SSDs, with 128L production in development and shipments expected in 2021. YMTC's 2020 ramp-up has been significantly hampered by COVID-19, with delays in equipment deliveries/installations at its Wuhan manufacturing site. Meanwhile, stand-alone NOR flash memory is expected to remain the sturdiest memory business in China due to a well-developed local supply-chain system and the activities of GigaDevice, a key regional player.â€‹
- Furthermore, the researchers from the regional universities are trying to develop the high-speed next-generation memory for catering to the increasing applications of AI and IoT devices and their growing amount of data. For instance, researchers from Tohoku University developed 128Mb-density STT-MRAM with a write speed of 14 ns for use in embedded memory applications, such as cache in IoT and AI. It is the fastest write speed capability for embedded memory applications with a density of over 100Mb.â€‹
- The local companies are engaging in various product innovations. In February 2020, KIOXIA Corporation announced to begin the sampling of the fifth generation of its BiCS 3D NAND flash technology for select applications in Q1 2020. The company developed in partnership with Western Digital, and the latest flash features 112-layer 3D stacked dies with approximately 20% higher cell array density compared to the previous generation 96-layer BiCS flash. Kioxia will manufacture its 5th Generation BiCS flash at its Kitakami and Yokkaichi plants in Japan.â€‹
The non-volatile memory market is highly fragmented as the market is highly competitive and consists of several major players. The competitive rivalry in this industry is primarily dependent on the sustainable competitive advantage through innovation, levels of market penetration, and power of competitive strategy. Since the market is capital intensive, the barriers to exit are high as well.
- September 2020 - Fujitsu Semiconductor Limited released the 8Mbit ReRAM MB85AS8MT. The MB85AS8MT is a non-volatile memory and has the world's largest density at 8Mbit in the mass-produced ReRAM product family. Featuring an SPI interface, it operates at a wide range of power supply voltages from 1.6V to 3.6V. Its electric specifications, such as commands and timings, are compatible with EEPROM products.â€‹
- September 2020 - Intel Corp. and Lightbits Labs announced an agreement to propel the development of disaggregated storage solutions, to solve the challenges of todayâ€™s data center operators who are craving improved total-cost-of-ownership (TCO) due to stranded disk capacity and performance. This strategic partnership includes technical co-engineering, go-to-market collaboration, and an Intel Capital investment in Lightbits Labs. Lightbitsâ€™ LightOS product delivers high-performance shared storage across servers, while providing high availability and read-and-write management designed to maximize the value of flash-based storage. â€‹
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