Falling NAND prices to drive NVMe SSD uptake, say industry watchers

The great NAND flash price slump will accelerate the uptake of SSD storage, industry sources have predicted, with PCIe/NVMe SSDs possibly accounting for half of the market by the end of the year.

Demand for flash plummeted in late 2018 and the first quarter of 2019 but is expected to bounce back in an improving market for smartphones, laptops, servers and other products that use NAND.

In the SSD market, suppliers will increase the downward pressure on 512GB/1TB prices, according to DRAMeXchange analyst Ben Yeh. Along with an increasing proportion of value PCIe SSDs in product shipments, this will drive a greater fall in average selling prices, increasing the uptake of SSDs in laptops.

There is plenty of room for growth in the enterprise market, where suppliers have all set their sights on high-margin PCIe/NVMe products, Yeh said. He added that more opportunities for competition will arise as demand from servers and data centres heats up.

PCIe SSDs will account for up to 50 per cent of the market by the end of 2019, according to a separate report in Digitimes.

This is driven by the shrinking difference in price between the two types. The report claims that the unit price for 512GB PCIe SSDs fell 11 per cent to $55 during the first quarter of 2019, compared to a corresponding price drop of 9 per cent for SATA SSDs, with the price gap continuing to narrow from the 30 per cent seen in 2018.

Digitimes also quote CK Chang, president of Apacer Technology, an SSD maker, who said consumer PCIe SSDs will gradually entirely replace SATA SSDs and also see broader mass adoption in industrial control systems and data centres.