Growth Opportunities in the Global Secure Digital (SD) Memory Cards Market

Published: 6 Sep 2010

By Mariano Kimbara, Research Analyst

The SD card is currently the most accepted form factor for flash storage cards when it comes to removable and portable memory cards of small size. According to the SD Association, portable memory cards are used by more than 400 brands across several categories of products in more than 8,000 models. Today's SD memory cards address the needs of highly demanding end-user devices. SD cards are basically segmented based on their size/format into two categories: the large SD standard format and the Micro SD format. There is a third category, which is the Mini SD format. However, the Mini SD format began exiting the market a couple of years ago.

SD cards are used in a variety of applications. The main markets for SD cards for consumer applications include:

  • Digital cameras
  • Mobile devices
  • Game devices
  • Video devices

The main market for SD cards is the imaging market for digital cameras. The SD standard format is the leading card type for digital cameras. The second category (and the fastest growing and promising category for SD cards) is the mobile market. The Micro SD format is the most used format in the mobile devices market, and it is driven mainly by smart phones and phones that don't have enough memory.

In terms of growth rates, the mobile sector with the Micro SD format is going to grow much faster (nearly 15 percent) than the digital imaging market (5 percent) for the SD standard card format. This is because both markets are in a different market stage. The SD standard for the imaging market is a more mature market. Plenty of devices are already in use in this market. On the other hand, the mobile market is still developing and has a lot of room for growth. However, today Micro SD is still not really competing directly with the SD standard format. It is still physically a much smaller card, and it is definitely always one generation to two generations behind in capacity and trying to meet the performance of SD standard format cards.

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