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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  • peevee - Friday, May 03, 2019 - link

    Why are they even sold at all given the availability of cheap SSDs and the transition to streaming (so no home movie collection is necessary)?
    I understand a few corporate clients with petabyte data requirements, but other than that...
    Reply
  • notashill - Friday, May 03, 2019 - link

    Some people just want/need a lot of storage and "cheap" SSDs are still ~5x the price of hard drives. I certainly do not want to spend over $1000 to get 8TB, which you can't even get in a single drive other than some absurdly expensive esoteric datacenter thing. Reply
  • quiksilvr - Friday, May 03, 2019 - link

    It is actually now roughly 2x the price now. You can get a 1TB HDD for about $45 new or a 1TB SSD for $95. It really is getting to the point where buying a HDD doesn't make sense. Why spend $360 for an 8TB HDD array when you can spend $760 and get instant reads while using less power and have virtually no noise and much much faster reads and writes with instant access? That is definitely worth the $400 extra investment. Reply
  • darkswordsman17 - Friday, May 03, 2019 - link

    Are you joking? "Why not spend twice the price?" like cost isn't a major (often the most important) factor.

    Also, FYI, you can get 8TB single HDDs (quick check on Amazon puts them in the ~$250 range), so no need for an array, which was the point the other person was making (is that if you need a lot of storage, SSDs are still cost prohibitive).
    Reply
  • shadowx360 - Friday, May 03, 2019 - link

    Hard drives are significantly cheaper at larger capacities. I can get 4TB HGST Enterprise drives for $90-100 on sale, versus $90-110 for a 1 TB SSD. My 20TB RAID 6 setup was $630. For the same 5:2 parity ratio I would be looking at 24 SSDs for roughly $2400. Reply
  • shadowx360 - Friday, May 03, 2019 - link

    Can't edit but that should be $2800 for 28. Versus $630. Reply
  • Shlong - Friday, May 03, 2019 - link

    An SSD for your PC is a no brainer now but for NAS Storage, a 50TB solution is too pricy still compeared to HDD. Reply
  • cfenton - Saturday, May 04, 2019 - link

    Also, if you're running a gigabit network (like 99+% of consumers) you're almost always limited by network speed before HDD speed. Reply
  • RSAUser - Tuesday, May 07, 2019 - link

    Well, you might want one SSD for the lower response time. Reply
  • npz - Saturday, May 04, 2019 - link

    > It is actually now roughly 2x the price now

    at 4TB it's 5x the price.
    Reply

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