Over the past several months pricing on SSDs has slowly been falling (see some pricing example at the bottom of this story). Just a few weeks ago many noticed that pricing on select models were slashed for longer than standard sale periods. Now, there is a little more insight as to why. Not only is the supply of NAND flash memory high, the demand is much less than expected.
Yields for 3D NAND flash are on their way to exceeding 80 percent by the fourth quarter of this year. As manufacturers are quickly reducing the amount of e-waste generated, profit margins would be rapidly rising if it weren't for the competition that is keeping prices down.
According to DRAMeXchange, the third quarter is traditionally the time for high demand of memory. Production of smartphones launching in the fourth quarter can suck up much of the supply and the launch of new computer hardware can also lead to upgrades. Current demand for laptops, tablets, and smartphones has been "disappointing," says DRAMeXchange.
This marks the third consecutive quarter that NAND flash prices continue to fall. It is believed that suppliers will further reduce their price models in attempt to increase their volume. For consumers, this could mean better sales on anything containing flash memory.
Pricing of NAND flash contracts in the fourth quarter are going to be heavily dependent on Apple and the next generation iPhones. Should another way-too-expensive iPhone X replacement arrive, demand may continue to be far outpaced by the increasing wafer yields. On the flip side, maybe Apple will come to their senses and launch varying sizes of iPhones that are more friendly to mass market sales.
The Google Pixel 3 is expected to launch in October, but from a shear numbers standpoint will have little effect on NAND flash demand in comparison to Apple's sales.
- Crucial MX500 250GB - $69.99 on Amazon
- Samsung 860 EVO 500GB - $114 on Amazon
- WD Black 500GB NVMe M.2 2280 SSD - $199.99 on Amazon