Kingston and Adata Lead Retail SSD Market

Kingston IronKey Vault Privacy 80 External SSD
(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

It gets tough for newcomers to capture a sizeable share of the solid-state drive market away from well-known brands, which is why Kingston and Adata have led retail SSD shipments for years. But apparently, Gigabyte became one of the Top 10 retail SSD suppliers after only a few years on the market.

SSD shipments through global distribution channels reached 127 million units in 2021, up 11% year-over-year, despite shortages of controllers and power management ICs, according to TrendForce. 42% of these shipped drives were from companies that make their 3D NAND memory (Kioxia, Micron, Samsung, SK Hynix, and Western Digital). In contrast, the remaining 58% encompasses companies focused purely on SSD assembly. TrendForce's retail SSD rankings only count the latter category of 'pure play' SSD producers.

In retail, brand strength matters, which is why Kingston, Adata, Kimtigo, Lexar, and Transcend have been in TrendForce's list of Top 10 makers of SSDs sold in retail or inside custom-built PCs for ages. But Kingston's share dropped a bit in 2021 to 26%, probably because there were just many players addressing segments that Kingston has addressed. On the other hand, other top 3 makers strengthened their positions, according to TrendForce. Lexar, which currently has nothing to do with Micron, sits at No. 4 with a 6% share. Netac sits just a little below Lexar.

(Image credit: TrendForce)

Meanwhile, after only a few years in the game and multiple drives that ended in our best SSDs list, Gigabyte found itself in the No. 9 place with a 3% market share. Colorful, just like Kimtigo, is primarily oriented on China and is even higher with a 4% share. Finally, Powev is another new Top 10 entrant with a 4% share.

Hundreds of companies supply solid-state drives today as SSDs are relatively easy to produce, and the market is growing. But because there are so many names around, the competition is cut-throat as everyone is trying to offer the best price, highest quality, and highest performance. For obvious reasons, companies that produce their 3D NAND memory have an advantage over pure-play SSD houses as they have their chips and know how they behave. They know how to ensure consistently high performance of drives that use their memory.

But while it is hard to compete against makers of 3D NAND in terms of price, some specialists successfully produce high-speed drives. Companies like Corsair, G.Skill, Patriot, Sabrent, and TeamGroup may not be in the Top 10 list of the largest retail SSD makers by unit shipments. However, they still serve their loyal customer base that demands two things only: performance and quality.

Anton Shilov
Freelance News Writer

Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.

  • Glock24
    I thought Samsung or Crucial would lead the charts, but sadly it's the makers of bottom of the barrel drives that are there.

    Kingston is know for bait and switch practices with their products, mostly SSDs and RAM. Some of their SSD models are decent but they make mostly garbage. The same goes for ADATA, they have like 500 different models and maybe a couple are decent ones.
  • Yeah, I wouldn’t buy either of them. It’s because they’re cheap and that’s it. Sort of like the Yugo craze.
  • Exploding PSU
    Weird, I'm not that up to date when it comes to SSD, almost clueless in fact.

    But everytime I ask someone who knows a thing or two about recent PC parts they always told me to avoid both Kingston and ADATA "like the plague".
  • USAFRet
    In the lead, by some weird industry only ranking that no one else knows about.

    Both of those are on my DoNotBuyEver list.
  • Colif
    Being cheapest doesn't make it the best -
    I seem to see adata & crucial drives die more than others. Counter arguement, if they cheap you just buy another... answer to that is, how much is your data worth to you?