WorldWide Tech & Science. Francisco De Jesùs.
2011: Kingston continues to lead the USB drive market, SanDisk the flash card segment.
Gartner has ranked Kingston Technology as the world's number one supplier of USB drives in 2011. The US memory-module firm took an almost 30% market share, followed by SanDisk with 21.7%.
In the flash card market for 2011, however, Kingston was ranked fifth by Gartner. The US firm took a 5.5% market share following Taiwan-based Transcend Information with 6.1%. Transcend settled into fourth place for the first time.
SanDisk remained the leader of the flash card segment in 2011 with a 39.7% share, followed by Samsung Electronics with a 15.3% share and Toshiba with 10.9%, according to Gartner.
The global USB drive and flash card markets have reached their saturation points. Sales of USB drives and flash cards totaled about US$2.51 billion and US$8.4 billion, respectively, in 2011. Both figures registered on-year decreases, according to Gartner.
The flash card segment, which managed growth over the past several years driven by sales of microSD cards, has now encountered a slowdown due to growing demand for smartphones that come with 16GB and larger internal memory. Suppliers are all gearing up for embedded multimedia cards (eMMC) and other embedded storage devices to mitigate the impact of sluggish demand in the traditional flash card market.
As for USB drives, suppliers expect the penetration rate for devices with USB3.0 to accelerate following Intel's launch of Ivy Bridge CPU - a positive catalyst for the USB drive market.