Hard Drive Market Braces for Double Digit Decline in 2013

Paul Lilly

A number of factors will lead to declining hard drive shipments this year, IHS iSuppli says.

Facing stiff competition from tablets, smartphones, and solid state drives (SSDs), mechanical hard disk drive (HDD) shipments are expected to fall 12 percent this year, according to market research firm IHS iSuppli . HDD revenue will drop at about the same clip, declining 11.8 percent to $32.7 billion in 2013, down from $37.1 billion in 2012, and remaining flat in 2014.

"The HDD industry will face myriad challenges in 2013," said Fang Zhang , analyst for storage systems at IHS. "Shipments for desktop PCs will slip this year, while notebook sales are under pressure as consumers continue to favor smartphones and tablets. The declining price of SSDs also will allow them to take away some share from conventional HDDs."

Put another way, HDDs face challenges from every angle, though cost advantages will ensure the storage medium stays relevant for a long while to come. Even though SSD pricing has fallen sharply the past year, HDDs still boast a more attractive price-to-gigabyte ratio.

One market where HDDs will continue to thrive is the business sector spanning the enterprise space, cloud storage, big data, and big-data analytics, IHS iSuppli says.

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