According to market estimates published by IHS, Toshiba was the only major flash maker to post sales growth in the first quarter of this year. While Samsung shed 3.7 percent of revenue and dropped from $1.94 billion in Q4 to $1.86 billion in Q1, Toshiba added 19.2 percent from $1.4 billion to $1.71 billion in the same time frame.
As a result, Samsung's market share fell to 37 percent, while Toshiba jumped from 28 to 34 percent. Overall, the market declined by 1.2 percent in sales volume, with Micron losing 14.3 percent, SK Hynix 16.9 percent and Powerchip 34.6 percent.
Given its size, Samsung posted the largest drop in NAND revenues among the top 5 flash makers. The drop was attributed to a 10 percent fall of its NAND prices, as well as to reduced production in one of its fabs that is transitioned to manufacture processors and chipsets.
"Toshiba's improved performance in the first quarter came after a troubling 2011," said Dee Nguyen, memory analyst at IHS. "Last year the company's NAND market share saw two major declines. The first drop came during the second quarter because of disrupted production stemming from the Japan earthquake-tsunami disaster in March. The second decline arrived during the fourth quarter when uncertain market conditions necessitated a carryover of inventory into the first quarter this year. Toshiba’s strong results show that the company has regained its footing and has put a tumultuous year behind it."
According to IHS, Toshiba's inventory carryover from the fourth quarter enabled the company to outship its competitors in Q1.