IHS iSuppli Sees Solid Market for Solid State Drives

Paul Lilly

Solid state drive (SSD) shipments are forecast to more than double in 2013.

It's going to be several years before solid state drives (SSDs) reach the same or similar market share as mechanical hard disk drives (HDDs), but in the meantime, one of those storage sectors is seeing explosive growth. According to IHS iSuppli , a new generation of lower-cost and more appealing Ultrabooks will help double the number of SSD shipments to 83 million units in 2013, up from 39 million in 2012. By 2016, IHS iSuppli believes SSD shipments will reach 40 percent the size of the HDD market.

For that to happen, Ultrabooks can ill afford to skip a beat.

"The fate of the SSD business is closely tied to the market for Ultrabooks and other ultrathin PCs that use cache drives," said Ryan Chien, analyst for memory and storage at IHS. "While SSD shipments rose by 124 percent last year, growth actually fell short of expectations because Ultrabook sales faltered due to poor marketing, high prices and a lack of appealing features. However, if sales of the new generation of Ultrabooks take off this year as expected, the SSD market is set for robust growth."

There are a lot of factors at play. Not only must Ultrabooks continue to be popular, but the new wave of Windows 8-based systems will have to attract an audience. At the same time, the average selling price of NAND flash memory will play a role, too. Now that it's not uncommon to find high-end SSDs selling for less than a dollar per gigabyte, including a terabyte-class SSD from Micron that sells for less than $600, buyers could easitly be turned off to the technology if prices jumped back up.

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