DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce, reports that the global sales revenue of DRAM modules for 2017 totaled US$11.7 billion, amounting to a significant growth of 69% compared with the result of the previous year. The high revenue is due to the nearly 50% YoY growth of DRAM ASP, although the contribution of the spot market to the total DRAM revenue is getting smaller.
Due to difficulties in process migration, oligopolistic market, and lack of new production capacity, DRAM products have seen a considerable price rise in 2017, with specialty DRAM recording the highest growth. Despite the decreasing contribution to total DRAM revenue, spot market appeared to be more price-sensitive, and suffered stronger price fluctuations when DRAM was in undersupply. For the whole year of 2017, the ASP in the spot market increased by over 60% and greatly contributed to the revenue of module makers.
Kingston topped the 2017 sales revenue ranking; ADATA ranked 2nd thanks to its low-price DRAM inventory at a high level
A few large module makers continued to dominate the market in 2017 and were more secure in their positions. The first top five module houses in the top 10 ranking took 85% of the global revenue market share. They together with the last five module houses in the top 10 ranking accounted for 93% of the year’s total revenue.
Kingston again held on to first place because the company benefitted from its increased DRAM shipments and higher prices. The company’s DRAM sales revenue grew by almost 60% YoY in 2017 to another record high. However, Kingston witnessed less growth momentum than other small- and medium-sized module makers due to its high base and its focus on DDR3 products. Kingston offers mainly DDR3, which benefits less from the rising ASP compared with mainstream DDR4 products. Despite this, Kingston still topped the 2017 sales revenue ranking.
Amid undersupply of DRAM, ADATA’s annual sales revenue increased significantly by 146%, thanks to its low-price DRAM inventory at a high level. With flexible sales capabilities, ADATA managed to take second place in the year’s global ranking, surpassing Smart Modular Technologies and Ramaxel.
Transcend Information continued to develop industrial DRAM modules; Team Group had made inroads into the gaming market
In terms of Taiwan-based suppliers, Transcend Information ranked 7th in 2017 and 6th in 2016, with a more conservative sales revenue growth in the past three years. The company has been shifting from the highly volatile and risky spot market to more stable industrial products. Consequently, Transcend Information has managed to increase its profitability thanks to the stable industrial DRAM market and higher profit margin than its original business in the spot market.
Apacer Technology has been always relatively conservative in procurement, thus has been less benefited from the low-price inventory. On the other hand, the company has focused on the industrial DRAM sector for many years and developed related products lines. Meanwhile, it also made inroads into markets of industrial IoT and gaming products. With a stable level of profitability, Apacer Technology has also decreased the risks brought by fluctuations in the memory industry.
Team Group has demonstrated a strong ambition to differentiate from other module makers. After years of hard work, Team Group has launched a series of gaming products with very positive feedbacks. Particularly, the speed of its gaming DRAM modules has reached an industry-leading 4500Mhz. Gaming DRAM modules accounted for more than 50% of the sales revenue of Team Group. This percentage was much higher than that of general module makers, resulting in almost double DRAM sales revenue for the company in 2017.