IHS iSuppli: High Prices Helped Hard Drive Makers Rake in Record Revenue

Paul Lilly

If you haven't already, you can officially stop feeling sorry for the hard drive industry, which took a tremendous hit to its collective operations from last year's floods in Thailand. Those floods contributed to a tight supply of HDDs and higher prices all around, but lest you offer any more sympathy, consider this. HDD makers generated record revenue in the first quarter of 2012, and they did it by raising prices.

That's according to IHS iSuppli, which says HDD revenue for Q1 was $9.6 billion, an industry high that bested the previous record of $9.3 billion set in the first quarter of 2010, even though the market saw 29 million less shipments this time around (149 million units in Q1 2012 versus 174 million units in Q1 2010).

"Revenue in the first quarter was up because of a rise in HDD average selling prices to approximately $66.28, compared to $51.49 in the third quarter before the flooding," said Fang Zhang , storage analyst at IHS. "The ASP will not return to pre-flood levels in the short term and will stay at elevated levels throughout 2012 and 2013, helping the HDD industry make up for some of the losses following the disaster."

Seagate enjoyed the lion's share of the record revenue at 46 percent, followed by Western Digital (32 percent), Hitachi GST (11 percent), and Toshiba (11 percent). These figures represent revenue in the period prior to Western Digital acquiring Hitachi GST.

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