Western Digital retakes lead in hard drive market from Seagate

Analysts assert that Western Digital "now has fully recovered" after the flooding disaster in Thailand last year.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

Western Digital looks to be on the path to recovery following the floods in Thailand last year, which threw the hard drive market for a loop that hasn't been entirely controled yet.

Market intelligence firm IHS iSuppli reports that Western Digital retook the lead from Seagate in the global hard drive market during the second quarter of 2012 with roughly 71 million HDD units produced.

That's on top of $4.8 billion in revenue for the quarter -- a company record, IHS points out.

Fang Zhang, an analyst for storage systems at IHS, explained in the report that Western Digital lost the top spot during the fourth quarter of 2011 following the flooding. It's worth pointing out that Seagate fared better and saw a quicker recovery because its factory is on higher ground than Western Digital's location.

Zhang asserted that Western Digital "now has fully recovered from the disaster, allowing it to sharply increase shipments of HDDs for notebook PCs, up 28 percent from the first quarter."

Furthermore, IHS predicts that Western Digital will continue its lead over the hard drive market in both shipments and revenue through at least the third quarter.

But the hard drive market overall is truly improving -- not just Western Digital. Approximately 157 million hard disk drive units were shipped in Q2 -- up 8 percent from 145.1 million during Q1 2012. Western Digital accounted for 45 percent of those shipments, while Seagate trailed slightly at 42 percent. Toshiba came in a distant third with 13 percent.

Overall, total revenue throughout the market during Q2 was $10.3 billion -- up from $9.6 billion in the first quarter.

To Seagate's credit, the Cupertino, Calif.-based storage provider did see in an increase in shipments as well from 60.7 million units in Q1 to 65.9 million in Q2. IHS added that Seagate also continues to lead in the desktop, enterprise and non-PC segments.

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