Enter SanDisk

Regional marketing manager Nikki Willcock tells us about the firm
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Some might say that the only real factor in memory products is the capacity. How do you differentiate your products from other vendors’?

Memory is not just about the capacity, but the reliability, durability and speed of the product. For instance, in a recent US survey, reliability was ranked as the most important attribute when it came to imaging memory. Capacity is important to help store all of the content you want, but it’s irrelevant if the product is unreliable and your content gets lost.

As the global leader in flash memory cards, SanDisk guarantees the most reliable products, as well as the most durable. Its memory cards can withstand the most extreme conditions and temperatures ranging from -25°C to 85°C. All of this helps consumers feel confident when buying SanDisk and, in turn, increases brand loyalty.

With the ever-increasing demand for media, are we likely to see a boom in memory products?

Memory products are hugely important and there will be increased demand for them, especially as consumer habits evolve. People want to be able to access social networking websites, download and use applications, take and view images or video and store information and files on the go.

However, many of the portable devices on the market, whether it’s netbooks, notebooks, digital cameras, MP3 players or smartphones, have relatively small inbuilt memory and are therefore unable to support the usage demand. It is likely that there will be a boom in demand in the near future for more memory, and SanDisk will continue to push the capacity boundaries in 2010.

Is there a particular area in the memory market that’s on the rise?

Demand for additional mobile memory is definitely growing. With the explosion of smartphone adoption, microSD memory cards are essential as they allow people to use their phone to its full potential by offering larger memory capacity to store all types of content such as images, movies and music.

Imaging memory is also starting to see an increase, especially with the launch of the SDXC format, which is capable of reaching 2TB capacities. However, with so few cameras supporting this format is it unlikely that this size capacity will be launched anytime soon, as there is no current consumer need or demand for it.

How can retailers best make money out of memory products?

The great thing about memory for retailers is that there is a need for it on almost every host device you can think of including, laptops, cameras, phones, printers, game consoles – the list just goes on. There are even memory slots in some cars now. This means that whatever device a consumer is purchasing, there’s always a memory solution for them.

The trick is to find out what the consumers will be doing with the device, e.g. when buying a DSi, will they be using the camera facility or playing music on it? If so, they will need a Nintendo DSi SDHC card in 4GB or 8GB. Our Nintendo cards have the official Nintendo seal of approval, so retailers can sell with confidence.

The retailer has already added value to the consumer and made an additional sale, which equals more margin and more money in the till.

How has business been for SanDisk over the past year?

The past year has been very successful for SanDisk, with Q4 2009 proving to be its best ever quarter for product revenue, margins and cash flow. This reflects a dramatic reversal in results when compared to the fourth quarter of 2008. Pricing held up in Q4 and product margins benefited from a 20 per cent sequential reduction in cost per gigabyte.

The last few months of 2008 marked the bottom of the industry down cycle, with all flash memory manufacturers operating at negative margins and reporting heavy losses.Yet, despite the recession, global demand for NAND flash has continued to grow over the past year and by the second half of 2009, flash manufacturers returned to 100 per cent capacity utilisation.

What are the SanDisk’s plans for the coming 12 months? Is a UK expansion on the cards?

2010 will definitely be an exciting year for SanDisk. There are some great UK product launches scheduled for the latter half of the year, which will further solidify SanDisk’s position as the global leader in flash memory cards.

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