According to a recent Trendfocus report, SSD sales are continuing to rise dramatically, while HDD manufacturers are experiencing record-breaking declines in overall shipments. Analysts estimate that shipments will be down by more than 40% compared to 2021.
HDDs were the go-to choice for PC storage for decades. Hard disc drives provided an excellent combination of high capacity and low cost. However, hard disc drives (HDDs) have begun to be outperformed by solid-state drives (SSDs), which generally provide better performance at a higher cost. Despite this (or perhaps because of it), HDDs maintained a higher market share for many years due to lower cost per GB and larger storage capacities.
This changed for the first time in 2020, when SSDs outsold HDDs for the first time. SSD prices have finally become affordable for even the most frugal PC users, which is likely to be a driving factor in this shift in sales. Surprisingly, Statista reported in September that HDD shipment levels would remain nearly constant in 2021, falling by only 0.5%. Unfortunately for manufacturers, this period of inactivity did not last long.
Trendfocus analysts’ most recent report covers quarterly and yearly changes for the three largest HDD manufacturers, Seagate, Toshiba, and Western Digital Corp. (WDC).
In 2022, the three leading manufacturers saw a significant drop. Seagate was the hardest hit, with estimates ranging from -41.7 to -43.7 percent in HDD sales. Western Digital fell nearly as much, 40.7 to 43 percent. Toshiba fared the best, but it still lost 37.7 and 39.3 percent.
Surprisingly, despite the sharp decline in shipments, 2.5″ HDDs “rebounded” by nearly 15% quarter over quarter. However, these were the only drives where sales increased. Consumer drives fell by mid-single-digit percentages, which, while not encouraging, is still far better than what happened in the enterprise industry.
Because of “falling cloud demand” in businesses, sales of enterprise-focused drives have plummeted. According to Trendfocus, Seagate, Toshiba, and WDC sold an estimated 11.5-12.5 million enterprise drives combined, which appears to be a large number. Nonetheless, it resulted in a 25% drop in quarter-to-quarter shipments.
Overall, the decline in HDD sales appears to be unstoppable. Prices for solid-state drives are rapidly approaching HDD levels, with 500 GB SSDs even approaching price parity with 500 GB HDDs. There’s reason to believe that by the end of 2023, this parity will have spread to SSDs larger than 500 GB, which could spell disaster for HDD manufacturers.
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