No More a Flash in the Pan



With
increase in demand for digital data storage requirement coupled
further with extensive mobility associated with modern day-to-day
business life, demand for external and portable storage mediums has
been growing heavily. Both flash drive and flash card markets have
been growing phenomenally over a period of last few years. Although
the market was affected slightly due to slowdown in 2009, yet
business was good in 2010. What was more visible was the rising
demand for high capacity pen drives. Today the entry level capacity
for a flash drive is 4GB which constitutes 70 percent of the market.
Demand for 8GB followed by 16 GB too has gained traction throughout
this year.

The flash market is one of the biggest growing
segments in India. However, due to its substantial dependence on
parallel import apart from the business generated through the
authorized distributors, it is very difficult to estimate the correct
size of the market. Surprisingly, this model of parallel import has
tacit sanction of the principals themselves. The market which is
primarily fed by China and Taiwan runs purely on cash transactions
and is a high volume business that is done through both IT and
telecom channels as well as large format retails. However, with some
revisions of the current duty structure in place, the coming year may
witness a major decline in parallel import.

Further
to the rise in mobile phone adoption across India, the market for
flash memory cards has already been witnessing exponential growth. As
use of multimedia applications like music, video, pictures, games
supported by easily available multimedia handsets are increasing, the
consumption of MMC cards are growing tremendously. And with
multimedia handset prices dropping continuously added with the
growing insurgence of the cheaper Chinese handsets in India the
market for flash card has boosted further.
The
other visible trend has been the significant growth in microSD cards
consumption. Previously these cards used to come with adapters, a
trend that was altered by Sandisk once it withdrew bundling adapter
within the package. This move played a vital role in decreasing
Sandisk’s popularity among the users. However, the other brands too
gradually followed the same path and now it has become a visible
norm. As the flash market started migrating to higher storage
capacities, a lot of activities were witnessed from the principals as
almost every one launched new products at regular intervals,
especially targeting niche segment by launching products with better
design and style. These products are also becoming hugely popular as
corporate gifts and are replacing other media like CDs and DVDs for
storing corporate or business presentations.

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