The big picture: Steadily declining sales of smartphones, servers, and laptops at the end of 2018 forced device manufacturers to slash their NAND flash storage orders for the first quarter of 2019, which has sent the market into quite the dip. The major players have all been unable to sell their stockpiles, resulting in an average revenue reduction of 24% compared to the previous quarter. While that's bad for the companies, it's great for storage prices.

DRAMeXchange, the storage-focused arm of market analysis firm TrendForce, has put together an account of the market that reads like a terrible student's report card: everything is a disaster. Best off are Intel and Micron, who only escaped with 17% and 19% declines respectively, while the worst hit is SK Hynix who saw their revenue decline by a landslide 36%.

While declining revenue is typical in Q1 coming off the back of holiday season, this year is a particularly bad one from manufacturers' perspectives. This means that the already low NAND prices will only continue to drop as manufacturers sell off inventory.

Overall, prices offered to device manufacturers fell by about 25% this quarter. UFS (universal flash storage) and eMMC, used in high-end and budget smartphones respectively, saw a 15-20% decrease in price. Prices for client SSDs, such as those found in laptops and PCs, dropped 17-31%. Enterprise SSDs similarly experienced a 26-32% reduction. While prices for TLC (triple layer cell) storage declined less sharply than the previous quarter, they still fell by 19-28%.

Company Revenue (US$M) Revenue Decline Market Share
Samsung 3,229 25% 30%
Toshiba 2,180 20% 20%
Micron 1,776 19% 17%
WDC 1,610 26% 15%
SK Hynix 1,023 36% 10%
Intel 915 17% 8.5%
Others 58 25% 0.5%

The industry generated a total of $10.8 billion last quarter, and apart from the declining revenue things didn't change all that much from the previous quarter. Toshiba and Micron both grabbed an additional 0.9% of the market, though underdog Intel grew the most at 9%. SK Hynix lost the most market share at 1.7%, followed by Toshiba and Micron at 0.9%.

DRAMeXchange's outlook for this quarter is similarly positive, and they predict revenue will decline but less steeply and prices will "fall non-stop." If you're considering an upgrade soon is a good time.

Data table provided by DRAMeXchange. Image Credit: mnm.all on Unsplash