Samsung grew DRAM lead in Q4, says IHS iSuppli

February 16, 2011 — Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. grew its already commanding share of the dynamic random access memory (DRAM) market in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to new IHS iSuppli research. Q3’s results are published here for reference.

With preliminary results in, Samsung’s DRAM revenue in the fourth quarter of 2010 amounted to $3.6 billion, equivalent to 41.7% share of an $8.7 billion market. And though revenue in Samsung’s case dropped during that quarter (revenue fell for all DRAM companies), Samsung’s share rose 1 percentage point compared to the third quarter, when total market revenue hit $10.7 billion.

Seven other companies are fighting for the remaining three-fifths of the market (figure).

Samsung’s positive performance was in direct contrast to a declining DRAM market, in which average selling prices (ASP) tumbled more than 28% in the final quarter of 2010, IHS iSuppli research shows.

A diverse product portfolio that hedged against excessive ASP declines, as well as an aggressive budget for capital expenditure that made sure the company’s shipments kept pace with the competition were reasons for this success, said Mike Howard, principal analyst for DRAM and memory at IHS.

Another winner during the quarter was No. 4, Micron Technology Inc., whose revenue dipped only 3%. Micron began to see significant shipments being counted from its purchase of a stake in Taiwan’s Inotera Memories a few years ago. Its market share edged up to 12.5% in the fourth quarter, up from 10.5% in Q3.

No. 2 Hynix Semiconductor has held approximately 22.0% market share for eight consecutive quarters.

Third-ranked Elpida Memory Inc. suffered the biggest drop in revenue in the fourth quarter, down 35% to $1.1 billion and 13.0 percent share.

Shifts in DRAM market share will occur in 2011, IHS believes. Samsung and Micron appear poised to extend their market share progress, but it is not clear if Nanya and Elpida will be able to attain meaningful market share gains, given the commodity nature of the products in question.

Nanya, like Micron, takes shipments from its stake in Inotera, and Elpida brands DRAM made by rival Powerchip as its own.

Due to continuing volatility in the DRAM sector, market share among companies when this year ends will be significantly different from that of last year.

Learn more about the latest developments in the DRAM market and industry with Howard’s recent brief, Samsung Continues to Grab Market Share in Q4 2010, at

IHS iSuppli technology value chain research and advisory services range from electronic component research to device-specific application market forecasts, from teardown analysis to consumer electronics market trends and analysis and from display device and systems research to automotive telematics, navigation and safety systems research. More information is available at IHS (NYSE: IHS) is a leading source of information and insight in pivotal areas that shape today’s business landscape: energy, economics, geopolitical risk, sustainability and supply chain management. Learn more at

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