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.

Related Reading:

Source: Nidec



View All Comments

  • DanNeely - Friday, May 3, 2019 - link

    Definitely not enterprise that's SAS drives; Red/Ironwolf's small/medium size nas straddles the line between Consumer and Data Center. From the perspective of an HDD motor maker I suspect they go in the latter bucket since they need to have the same higher vibration tolerance. Reply
  • npz - Saturday, May 4, 2019 - link

    I think for the larger drives which will be more and more consumed by the "data center" segment we may see the opposite and have same prices or increased prices. Makers would probably assume that small businesses or archivers using NAS would just accept the premiums and grudgingly fork out the cash.

    They did say that external drives are also selling well, so that may lead to more shucking as an alternative
  • khanikun - Monday, May 6, 2019 - link

    I've actually seen it otherwise, where the SAS drive is cheaper than the SATA equivalent. I'm mostly looking at 6 TB hdds, as that's at the price point I want to stick to.

    I contemplated moving to SAS, but instead decided to shuck external drives again. I've done it before, but it was back in the day when WD was putting their Green drives in them. So I only shucked 4 and never did it again. Now I'm hearing they put Reds or Red equivalents in there.
  • eastcoast_pete - Friday, May 3, 2019 - link

    One of the reasons why demand for "spinning rust" drives is slumping is the cartel-like absence of real competition among HDD makers, which keeps HDD prices artificially high. Really wish the respective authorities in the US, the EU and China would take a close look at that trio! That anti-competitive situation in the HDD market will get even worse now, as the same companies (WD/HGST, Seagate and Toshiba) have build up too much solid state drive capacities, and want to move those to avoid write-downs. Don't get me wrong, I also prefer an SSD as the boot and work drive, but for larger scale cold storage of UHD video files and for backup in general, a couple of 6, 8 or 10 TB drives is still the way to go. Reply
  • khanikun - Monday, May 6, 2019 - link

    Yep. I remember getting HGST NAS 6 TB 7200 rpm drives for around the $175 mark. WD bought them up, got rid of HGST. Now you can only find a 7200 rpm drive with their WD Red Pro, which at 6 TB is $220. Their regular Red is just 5400 rpm and that still costs $200.

    At least there is still Seagate. Wish Toshiba was a better competition.
  • flyingpants265 - Monday, May 6, 2019 - link

    HDD prices used to get cut in half every couple years. Shortly after they introduced 4TB, it's like prices stopped going down.. There was also the whole factory flood which they managed to milk for years.

    Should have gone to 4" or higher platter sizes, stacked more platters, and used the 5.25" drive bays. We could have had 30TB drives by now. Now it's too late, a lot of self-built cases don't even have 5.25" bays.
  • Dizoja86 - Friday, December 6, 2019 - link

    Agreed. I bought a couple 2TB Seagate Green drives back in 2010 for $69 Cdn each. Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Friday, May 3, 2019 - link

    r/datahoarder Reply
  • eastcoast_pete - Saturday, May 4, 2019 - link

    That's another term that can be used for many (most?) HTPC/mediaplex users also. Similarly, if one's hobby or job (or both) involves taking and editing videos, the Tb accumulate quickly, especially now with 4K being the norm. Reply
  • rocky12345 - Friday, May 3, 2019 - link

    Hmm...I guess I better get those 2 8TB hard drives I was planning on getting for my new build this summer. I was planning on getting them in July but with this news the cost of the drives just may double by July form what they are now. I was also planning on getting 2 1TB NVMe PCI-e 3.0 x4 drives for that build as well and I'm getting those asap as well because of the news form last week about the memory manufactures cutting production on the chips. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now