Sales of USB flash memory devices have gone through the roof in the past year according to several industry players, prompting talk of lucrative opportunities in the channel.
Gartner has estimated that flash memory will represent a global market worth $7.7 billion in 2008.
So far most sales growth has been in the retail space, but the
B2B channel will be the next to benefit, according to Imation sales and marketing manager for A/NZ, Mark Gill.
“There is room for business-to-business growth,” he said.
“Retail’s been strong. But there’s no reason why it won’t be successful in an office environment.
“We launched our USB flash drives in April and the sales growth has been exponential.
“The merging of digital applications has demanded more storage memory and for many digital files flash is as convenient as recordable DVD.”
Distribution director at memory manufacturer and wholesaler Legend, Rob Kester, said: “There is a huge amount of growth for resellers in organisations that want to do whole-company rollouts,” he said.
Legend has reported 30-40 per cent growth in sales of the drives each month for the last year. One of its competitors, Mittoni, estimated a 500 per cent surge in USB storage since last year.
With high-profile innovators such as Iomega and Imation behind USB bundling with flash memory, and Hitachi and GS Magicstor pioneering a burgeoning market for mini hard-drives, resellers could take advantage of the rise in popularity of portable storage. Iomega country manager, Scott Dillon, said that although DVD was going to be the next ubiquitous storage format, you could not beat the convenience of flash.
Iomega has launched a USB flash drive, and is also now building flash memory card readers into its DVD drives.
“All market indications, sales and predictions say that DVD is going to be massive,” he said.
“But the low cost of memory has caused an explosion in flash sales.”