Continued erosion in NAND flash drives will see overall revenues of flash memory makers decline by 5 percent from $25.5 billion in 2011 to $24.3 billion in 2012.
NAND flash will make up about $20.8 billion and the NOR sector will make up the remainder at $3.5 billion, market research firm IHS said. NAND flash is typically used in smartphones as the flash memory of choice, while NOR flash is integrated in low-cost phones.
IHS does not anticipate that the market will further decline, but rather bounce back to 11.4 percent growth in 2013. By 2016, the total annual flash memory revenue will reach $33.3 billion, the company predicts.
"The action in the NOR and NAND flash memory market largely is being driven by mobile handsets," said Michael Yang, senior principal analyst at IHS. "Flash memory growth is due in large part to mobile handsets. With Apple and Samsung leading the way, phones today are constantly being refreshed with the latest features and processors—requiring more powerful memory products, in turn."
IHS believes that NOR flash will be increasingly squeezed out of the market as lower cost NAND memory chips deliver enough read performance to replace NOR.