SEPTEMBER 10--The market for memory cards--small, portable memory devices used to transfer data and images across multiple consumer applications--is predicted to have rapid growth over the next three to five years. While SmartMedia and CompactFlash are the most recognizable names in memory cards, the last few years have seen a number of new formats enter this market. From flash formats such as MultiMedia, Secure Digital, and Memory Stick, to magnetic media such as Microdrive and PocketZip, to emerging optical formats such as DataPlay, the market for memory cards is larger and more crowded than it has ever been. In 2000, nearly 37 million cards were shipped, generating more than $1.6 billion.
The markets for memory cards have spread well beyond the original application of digital photography, to PDAs, mobile phones, and portable digital music players. These new applications will cause substantial growth in the memory-card market. But the last year has been volatile for flash memory chips--the basis of many memory-card formats-leading to rapidly falling prices.
Though unit shipments will be up substantially in 2001, revenues are expected to fall slightly. Nevertheless, as the flash situation stabilizes and new memory card formats are established, this market will see substantial growth in both unit shipments and revenues between 2000 and 2005.