According to a new financial presentation from Nidec, a Japanese motor manufacturer who is responsible for around 85% of all HDD spindle motors, the company believes that shipments of hard drives for PCs will drop significantly this year. Citing numerous ongoing trends, the motor maker is preparing for HDD motor sales to drop by around 50% year-over-year for 2019. Meanwhile the company also expects sales of other types of HDDs to slow, but not as drastically. In fact, unit shipments of hard drives for datacenters are projected to increase a bit.

According to Nidec's data, unit sales of hard drives declined by around 43% from 2010 to 2018, going from around 650 million units in 2010 to 375 million units in 2018. And it looks like sales will continue to drop in the coming years. Recently Nidec revised its HDD shipment forecast downwards from 356 million drives to 309 million drives in 2019, which will further drop to 290 million units in 2020. The recent drops in HDD shipments have already forced Nidec to optimize its HDD motor production capacities and repurpose some capacity to other types of products.

Shipments of PC HDDs have been hit the hardest among all types of HDDs due to a combination of general market weaknesses and the transition of notebooks to SSDs. According to Nidec, shipments of PC HDDs decreased gradually from 289 million drives in 2013 to 124 million devices in 2018. However, this year sales of hard drives for PCs will drop sharply, going from 124 million devices in 2018 to 65 million units in 2019, or by around 48%.

Meanwhile shipments of hard drives for broader consumer electronics devices is expected to decrease from 77 million HDDs in 2018 to 70 million in 2019. This is likely being driven by lower sales of current-generation consoles, surveillance systems, and other devices.

There is a bright spot in the HDD market however: external HDDs as well as nearline hard drives for datacenters are both looking strong. Shipments of the former will stay flat at around 100 million units, whereas sales of the datacenter drives are expected to increase to 54 million units, according to Nidec. Conversely, sales of enterprise-class drives – which Nidec counts separately from datacenter drives – are expected to decline a bit as mission-critical applications migrate to SSDs.

Amongst all of these shifts in HDD sales volumes, it is noteworthy that the leading hard drive makers have indicated that while unit sales of nearline and surveillance HDDs may stay more or less flat (or even drop), their capacities and ASPs are getting higher.

Nidec controls the lion’s share of the market for HDD spindle motors, so its projections are rather valuable and definitely worth checking out. Especially as the company expects to maintain its high market share throughout this calendar year.

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Source: Nidec

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  • npz - Saturday, May 4, 2019 - link

    at 8TB an SSD is about 18x the price Reply
  • Freeb!rd - Saturday, May 4, 2019 - link

    Yeah, try that pricing ratio with larger HDDs... I paid $200 for an 8TB Toshiba HDD, how much does 4 2TB ssds cost and needs for additional Sata ports... guess what all 2TB units on Amazon are going for $200-$250 and while I was looking an 8TB external was only $139. So the price ratio is NOT 2:1 Reply
  • flyingpants265 - Monday, May 6, 2019 - link

    Hi, 8TB is $174, that's about $600 less than the SSD Reply
  • khanikun - Tuesday, May 7, 2019 - link

    I'm just looking at the Newegg prices for the cheapest SSDs for their given size.

    8 x 1 TB Silicon Power Ace A55 = $783
    4 x 2 TB WD Blue = $899
    2 x 4 TB Samsung 860 QVO = $995
    1 x 7.6 TB Micro 5200 = $1117 (couldn't find a 8 TB consumer SSD)
    1 x 8 TB Intel DC P4510 = $2132 (Enterprise SSD)
    Reply
  • peevee - Friday, May 3, 2019 - link

    "Some people just want/need a lot of storage "

    That is the point - who? 290 million people per year?
    It is just the case of PC builders installing this cr@p instead of SSD into new PCs (even laptops) despite them slowing down most operations to 1990s levels. A few $$ to lure ignorant customers.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, May 3, 2019 - link

    the 290M figure is:
    17M enterprise drives (10/15k RPM server drives)
    60M Data center drives (Big bulk storage drives like what cloud providers use)
    68M Consumer electronics (Consoles, video surveillance, TIVO, etc)
    99M External drives
    46M Consumer drives (laptops and desktops)

    On the consumer side you've got some race to the bottom PCs being sold to people who want big numbers on the sticker (1000 >> 256), budget gaming systems (256gb isn't enough with some games above 100gb now), and people with lots of pictures/movies/etc that are putting big HDDs in a desktop instead of a NAS. Hopefully a lot of the last group also have an SSD for OS/Apps.
    Reply
  • fazalmajid - Friday, May 3, 2019 - link

    10K rpm drives are actually dying first. SSDs have completely replaced them in their use case of fast, low-latency storage for databases and other critical applications. It's the high-reliability high-capacity drives, including nearline drives, that remain for bulk storage applications in tiered storage environments. Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, May 3, 2019 - link

    Source? IIRC reading in a prior article here that 15k was going faster than 10k (expectation that there'd be at least one more 10k gen, but doubt over another 15k gen by a major HDD brand). Reply
  • peevee - Monday, May 6, 2019 - link

    Thanks for the numbers, Dan. Can you disclose the source? Reply
  • khanikun - Tuesday, May 7, 2019 - link

    The source is the article that you are commenting on. Scroll up Reply

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