IHS: Hard drive market makes record rebound and 'full recovery'

IHS: Hard drive market makes record rebound and 'full recovery'

Summary: Analysts assert that the hard drive market is back on track thanks to greater demand in both the consumer and enterprise PC markets.


The hard drive market has had a tough time in recent quarters since the flooding in Thailand last year that severely impacted the industry.

But it looks like things are really turning around for the segment now as market intelligence firm IHS iSuppli reports that the global hard disk drive industry has fully recovered -- and with at a record level, no less.

Analysts project that HDD shipments in 2012 will topple approximately 524.0 million units, a 4.3 percent increase from 502.5 million units in 2011, making it the highest annual shipment rate for the HDD market ever.

There have been a few signs pointing towards a full recovery recently. IHS reported in August that roughly 157 million hard disk drive units were shipped during the second quarter of 2012 -- up 8 percent from 145.1 million during Q1 2012.

Western Digital, in particular, is picking up even more quickly than expected as it retook the lead from Seagate in the global hard drive market in Q2 with roughly 71 million HDD units produced.

Fang Zhang, an analyst covering storage systems at IHS, predicted in the report that hard drive shipments will continue to rise, despite a sluggish third quarter:

The yearly rise in HDD shipments is the result of greater demand from the consumer and enterprise PC segments, both of which continue to clamor for disk space in order to hold storage-intensive media like music, videos and other forms of social media content. As downloadable media content becomes more readily accessible and affordable, so will the quest for storage space continue in order to satisfy unremitting demand. Meanwhile, the HDD industry has completely resolved disruptions to its HDD manufacturing and component supply caused by the Thailand disaster that struck one year ago.

There's also another factor cited in the report that is giving the HDD market a boost: the impending arrival of the Windows 8 operating system. In tangent to that, analysts expect that there will be a rise in Ultrabook shipments in the fourth quarter.

Topics: Hardware, Tech Industry

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  • Hmmmm...

    quote "The yearly rise in HDD shipments is the result of greater demand from the consumer and enterprise PC segments," end quote
    How many blogs have we had on the internet of late telling us we may as well put
    our PCs up for sale since we are in the "Post-PC Era"?? Shucks, now I'll have to
    forget the yard sale. LOL! ;)
    • the post-pc lie

      Some like tablets but people who use both tab and pc still use the latter far more often...

      And the lingering economic downturn helps foist an excuse for the hyped line as well...
    • Re: Post-PC era

      Upgrading the hard drive is a great way to eke out a bit more life from an old PC. I think all my desktop machines have been through 2-3 hard drive upgrades over their useful lives.
  • Something doesn't add up

    Neither Rachel nor the report she cited explained how Windows 8's release equates to increased sales of hard disks. Virtually everyone who isn't on the Microsoft payroll is, at best, taking a wait-and-see approach to Windows 8. Windows 8 doesn't take such significant quantities of hard disk space that disk upgrades will need to happen en masse and people are buying hard drives months in advance to meet this nonexistent need. There's no data indicating that they're expecting a huge wave of new desktop/laptop shipments to justify counting hard disks in new systems, nor does it seem that Microsoft is buying up a hundred million hard disks to meet increased storage demands for Skydrive. No matter which way I try to make "Windows 8 release coming soon" justify "increased hard disk sales in Q2 2012", I simply can't turn it into a cause/effect relationship.

    Any thoughts, Rachel?

    • Cloud

      I think much of the increasing cloud computing still is powered by hard drives at the servers. Not only Microsoft, but Apple, Google, Amazon are expending as well. Also remember that hard drives been expensive due to the flood, so now people and companies that have waited are buying. PC OEMs are probably hoarding hard drives now for the Windows 8 launch. Many windows 8 laptops/desktops will come with 500 GB to 3 TB hard drives...
  • less than a month ago

    WD 2tb drives still cost $299... at the big box store where other brands fared for far less... wd was badly hit but in a legit global environment we would see plants everywhere to keep up efficiency with economic harm minimized...
  • The increase was pent-up demand

    I held off my purchases until last week when the prices started looking like pre-flood prices.
  • We roll with Hitachi

    In our SAN based storage systems, but we have felt the impact of the HDD shortages. Especially with our biggest box, which holds 60 drives + 2 60 drive expansion units.
  • Reworked?

    Wonder how many are re-worked from the flooding. Cleaned and refurbished parts.
    I will wait a year or so before buying.
  • Hopelessly out of touch...

    if IHS didn't tell you that current estimates are for HDD unit shipments for calendar third quarter to decline from 157m in the prevous quarter to approximately 140m. I decline in unit shipemnts in CQ3 compared to CQ2 is very rare is is indicative of how much things have slowed down in the global economy.
    Rachel, is it possible that you simply reported on an old report? I can't imagine that IHS would not be aware of this. Both Western Digital and Seagate, who together own 85% of the market issued guidance within the last week and a half indicating the contraction. Frankly I think it is really poor reporting on your part in any case, as you should check each story with other sources before you put your name and your publiisher's name on it. I hope someone doesn't run out and make investments on the basis of this misleading and silly report.