Based on the latest data and research, TrendForce has further corrected down the projected YoY growth rate of whole server shipments for 2023 to 2.8%. Three factors are behind this revision. First, lead time has started to return to its usual length for most orders related to server components from 3Q23 onward. Seeing this, server OEMs and cloud service providers (CSPs) have also begun to correct the component mismatch issue by lowering demand for items that are in excess while maintaining a constant inventory level for items that are still in tight supply. This development, in turn, has reduced the flow of server orders going to ODMs. Second, the wave of demand that was generated earlier from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is dissipating. Hence, expansion activities have cooled off noticeably for services such as video streaming, e-commerce, etc. Among CSPs, Meta, Google, and ByteDance (TikTok) have lowered their server procurement quantities for next year. Lastly, the global economic outlook has remained fairly negative, so companies across most industry sectors have formulated a more conservative expenditure plan and scaled back IT-related spending for next year.
QoQ Declines in Prices of Server DRAM Modules and Enterprise SSDs for 4Q22 Have Widened to 23~28% as Competition Among Suppliers Intensifies
In the server DRAM market, DRAM suppliers are facing greater difficulties in raising sales because buyers have been carrying a high level of inventory during the second half of this year. In 3Q22, suppliers did manage to get some buyers to lock in the price for that quarter and the next .However, TrendForce believes that further downward corrections to next year’s server shipments have ratcheted up the price competition among suppliers. Moving into October, CSPs received even lower server DRAM quotes as suppliers proposed to lock in the price to the end of 1H23. Now, in November, another round of negotiations for “fourth-quarter special deals” has also commenced. Due to these developments, QoQ declines in contract prices of server DRAM modules for 4Q22 have enlarged to 23~28%.
Regarding the enterprise SSD market, orders remained relatively stable for a while. However, the increasingly conservative economic outlook and the downward revisions to corporate capital expenditure plans in 2H22 have led to softer demand momentum for enterprise SSDs. Moreover, NAND Flash suppliers face rising inventory for enterprise SSDs as the demand for consumer electronics has plummeted. Internally, they have been under pressure to find solutions for consuming excess production capacity and meeting their year-end targets. Externally, they need to prepare for headwinds such the expected weak demand situation during the low season of 1Q23 and delays in the production ramp-up of Intel’s and AMD’s new server CPU platforms. Given these factors, suppliers are compelled to offer larger price concessions on enterprise SSDs even though the contracts for this fourth quarter have already been arranged. Due to the new wave of negotiation activities, QoQ declines in contract prices of enterprise SSDs have exceeded the earlier estimation and now come to 23~28% as well.
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