If you haven't stocked up on DRAM lately, expect to pay more for the privilege.
According to a report issued Thursday by iSuppli, the average selling price of DRAM rose by 16 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009. A 21 percent increase in bit shipments also helped the DRAM industry climb to $8.5 billion in sales for the fourth quarter.
For 2010, worldwide DRAM revenue is expected to climb to $31.9 billion, a shocking 40.7 percent increase over 2009, where iSuppli's estimate projects that $22.7 billion worth of memory was sold. Overall, 2009 DRAM revenue dipped by 3.9 percent.
Why the resurgence in DRAM pricing? Shortages, as reported by OEMs from Apple to, most recently, Hewlett-Packard.
The economics of supply and demand say that, as long as shortages remain, prices are expected to climb. In December, DRAMXchange, which measures pricing in the DRAM market, actually expected DRAM pricing to fall in the first quarter, given the traditional drop in PC demand and the aggressive capital spending on DRAM manufacturing by DRAM companies. But the analyst site reported in January that unexpected demand had boosted DDR3 contract pricing by 40 percent.
DRAMXchange agreed with iSuppli on its fourth-quarter revenue estimates, placing them at about $8.7 billion. Although iSuppli did not release vendor rankings, DRAMXchange did: Samsung continues to control 31.7 percent of the market in terms of dollar sales, followed by Elpida with 21.6 percent, Hynix with 19.4 percent, and Micron with 12.2 percent. Nanya was fifth with a 5.7 percent market share. Elpida demonstrated strong quarter-to-quarter growth, with an increase of 63.9 percent in dollar revenue; Powerchip, the sixth-ranked vendor, topped it with the highest increase, at 111.6 percent.
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