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Solid-state Drive Shipments Achieve Upswing In Q2

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Following a plunge during the first three months of the year, global solid-state drive (SSD) shipments snapped back to growth in the second quarter, as demand from the client system market boosted the performance of third-party suppliers like Kingston.

Worldwide SSD unit shipments rose to 57.9 million units in the second quarter, up 9.7 percent from 52.8 million in the first quarter, according to IHS Markit | Technology, now a part of Informa Tech. Shipments declined by 8.4 percent sequentially in the first quarter. This dramatic shift from contraction to expansion represents a more than 18-percentage-point swing between the first and second quarters.

The client SSD segment, which includes devices like mobile and desktop PCs, was the main driver of the rebound, Client SSD shipments increased by 11.9 percent sequentially in the second quarter.

“Falling prices are continuing to fuel SSD demand growth in client systems,” said James Zhao, Principal Analyst, SSD and HDD, at IHS Markit | Technology. “The global average selling price (ASP) for client SSDs declined by 6.7 percent sequentially in the second quarter, marking the sixth consecutive quarter of ASP contraction in the client segment. These declines are making SSDs more affordable for a larger number of systems.”

In contrast to the strong increase on the client side, the enterprise SSD market attained mild sequential growth of only 1.9 percent.

NAND price plunge diminishes revenue growth

Despite the vigorous rise in unit shipments, sequential SSD revenue growth in the second quarter was limited to 1 percent. That's because overall SSD ASPs fell by 9.7 percent in the second quarter, stymying revenue growth.

Kingston rides third-party SSD wave

The surge in the client segment disproportionately benefitted third-party players that don't manufacture the NAND flash memory microchips used within their products.

Third-party SSD supplier Kingston exemplified this trend, with the company's SSD shipments rising by an impressive 23.3 percent sequentially in the second quarter. This strong performance propelled Kingston to the No. 3 rank in SSD unit market for the first time in three years, after placing fifth in 2017 and 2018 and fourth in 2016. The company has attained six consecutive quarters of double-digit revenue growth.

“Third-party players like Kingston are outperforming the overall market because NAND components are available at such low prices compared to a year ago,” Zhao said. “These companies are able to take advantage of these lower costs and gain market share rapidly.”

Intel leads the enterprise

Intel captured the No. 2 position in SSD revenue share in the second quarter 2019. Because Intel focuses more on the enterprise market, its SSD ASP is far above average. Intel shipped more than 4 million SSDs in the quarter, up 17.5 percent compared with the previous quarter.


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