Ubiquity of USB Ports and Connectivity on Myriad Electronic Devices Drives the Global USB 3.0 Market

The global market for USB 3.0 Flash Drives is projected to reach US$6.7 billion by 2024, driven by ubiquitous presence of USB 3.0 ports on devices.

Universal Serial Bus (USB) interface has become ubiquitous in a wide range of electronic devices since the introduction of its first version in 1996. USB has evolved into one of the highly successful interface technologies over the years. Thanks to fast-paced technology developments, new electronic devices, low-cost storage and media formats have been converging, demanding high bandwidth bus to provide interactive experience that users have come to demand. With an average individual having more than one electronic device, the need to exchange data among these devices is also on the rise. For instance, high-definition video recorders typically generate tens of gigabytes of data that may have to be transferred to a personal computer for viewing, editing or archiving. USB also 3.0 features backward compatibility with its predecessor USB 2.0 technology, one of the major differentiating and enabling factors for the success of the technology.

With USB 3.0 ports becoming ubiquitous on all electronic devices, demand for USB 3.0 drives is increasing at a healthy pace. With all electronic devices supporting USB 3.0, these drives have emerged as the de facto standard for USB storage devices. Backward compatibility with USB 2.0 has enabled this widespread adoption of the USB 3.0 technology. With backward compatibility, electronic devices are not required to provide a separate port for reading older technologies, thus bringing down the bill of materials. Capable of addressing such needs by adding faster transfer rates to match new devices and usages, USB 3.0 has made device manufacturers sit up and take note of this new interface technology for their products. Also, unlike in previous USB standards such as USB 1.1 or USB 2.0, where it was only possible to pipe data in a single direction at a time, USB 3.0 is capable of reading and writing data simultaneously.

The latest USB technology, USB Type C poses a risk for USB 3.0 technology. With most smartphones migrating to the new format, USB 3.0 drives are rendered obsolete for use with such devices. Even though the technology is backward compatible with older technologies, the hardware interface is a hindrance in connecting them. However, various aftermarket options and extensions enable USB 3.0 and older devices to be connected with a USB Type C host.

Solid State Drives (SSDs) have been the rage in digital storage in the recent past. Boasting of super-fast read-write speeds, and small form factors, SSDs provide optimal external storage options for consumers. SSDs are shrinking by the day, and have reached the form factor of a typical USB drive. Moreover, at higher capacities, USB drives provide comparable capacity to SSDs. On the other hand, with small factor and superior read-write cycles, SSDs pose a threat to USB drives. SSDs are inherently more stable and a better option compared to USB drives. Prices of low cost SSDs and premium USB drive have almost converged, and for the discerning customer SSDs provide a better option.

Asia-Pacific represents the largest market worldwide, followed by Europe. Asia-Pacific is also home to a large population, which is moving to the digital storage space, and coupled with the low cost of USB 3.0 flash drives in these markets, the region is forecast to register the fastest CAGR of 20.0% over the analysis period.

Major players in the market include ADATA Technology Co., Ltd., Corsair Components, Inc., ELECOM Co., Ltd., EMTEC, Gigastone Corporation, HP, Inc., Kingston Technology Company, Monster Digital, Inc., Patriot Memory LLC, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., SanDisk Corporation, Sony Corporation, Toshiba Corporation, Transcend Information, Inc., and Verbatim Corporation.

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