Driven by harsh PC sales in the past year, the DRAM module industry is one of the worst hit by the recent market trend. Despite peak season and the 70th anniversary of Victory Day celebration in China that had the possibility of spiking up the price a bit, average DDR3 4GB prices dropped 3%, from US$19 in August to US$18.5 in September.
The newly launched Windows 10 this summer together with Intel’s latest Skylake CPU did not, apparently, catalyze an increase in demand for new systems. In fact, Microsoft damaged any new PC sales, since the new system update actually keeps the sales down, as no new computers are needed to run the new OS. Since PC sales are low, memory modules continue to drop, as per usual.
To reflect this, a recent study from DRAMeXchange has shown that SO-DIMM module prices keep falling every few months, with just a 3% price reduction for 4GB DDR4 SO-DIMMs from August to September, while an even greater reduction occurred from May to August, one of 4.76%. Numbers of this sort add up over time and show how badly affected the hardware manufacturers have been this year, and although this was meant to appeal to the average customer, it didn’t stop sales from dropping even further on a month-to-month basis.
DRAMeXchange Assistant Vice President Avril Wu is afraid that a further lack of interest in future system upgrades will worsen the crisis even further during the next year: “Notebook shipments in the third quarter fall short of what is expected for a traditional peak season mainly because Windows 10 with its free upgrade plan negatively impacted replaced sales of notebooks to some extent rather than driving the demand for these products.”
“Furthermore, projected shipments of smartphones and servers have been marked down, and this has seriously eroded the margins of DRAM suppliers. If the global economy continues to stagnate, the end market will not generate the demand needed to effectively consume the new DRAM chips produced on the advanced processes. Looking ahead to the first half of 2016, DRAMeXchange expects price decline in the DRAM chip market to become more severe than the current slide.”
Although this is, in the end, good news for the customer, it isn’t, however, for the manufacturer, since they’ll end up selling high-end pieces of technology for bread crumbs and will go broke. This issue will, in turn, affect other manufacturers, and will eventually lead to a larger domino effect that will risk endangering the entire South-Asian market.