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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  • svan1971 - Saturday, May 4, 2019 - link

    What happens when you purchase a few hundred movies from a streaming company and that company goes belly up? Reply
  • npz - Saturday, May 4, 2019 - link

    Speak for yourself regarding no movie collection is necessary. For anime, for example, there are content differences between streaming or broadcast and bluray. And with streaming, licenses come and go. Titles don't stay on a service forever.

    Also how are you going to store movies taken with your phone? What if you're need to capture and edit game footage?

    Are you going to pay $2,132 for a 8TB ssd?
  • cornandbeans - Saturday, May 4, 2019 - link

    Uh, for archiving? I have a huge collection of Blurays, lossless music, games, photos, videos....that I need 20TB for. I never stream since I already OWN everything, not to mention my collection is superior in quality. Reply
  • Alexvrb - Saturday, May 4, 2019 - link

    One month, Netflix has <insert TV series or movie here>, the next it's gone. Oh and don't get me started about <Movie X> or <Movie Y>, neither they nor Hulu has them. How many streaming services do I need to pay for to have access to all known movies and TV shows, again? Tell me. I'm dying to know.

    Next you'll recommend we just buy discs. Seriously, there's a whole world of people and they don't all have your exact wants and needs, peewee.
  • Beaver M. - Sunday, May 5, 2019 - link

    If I didnt have my movie collection, then it would have been really bad the still very numerous times when my Internet went out.

    Also Im not going to subscribe to 3 or 4 providers just to have everything available I want. Seeing how bad movies have become the last few years, its also not worth it anymore. I just buy the movies I want, so I dont have to pay a monthly subscription, which would be much more expensive. The only thing I regret so far is not being able to watch Netflix' Bandersnatch. But I am sure they will find a solution to watch that offline sooner or later.

    So yeah, I am happy with my 12 TB HDD (actually only 10.8 TB), but probably will need more than that in a few years.
  • flyingpants265 - Monday, May 6, 2019 - link

    Because I have 2x4TB drives, and one 2.5" 1TB drive acting as a pure backup. Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Thursday, May 9, 2019 - link

    You are not the only person in the world. Some of use don't wish to pay a monthly subscription to service x, y and z, only to find stuff STILL not on that service. Some of us prefer to outright OWN our media instead of hiring everything.

    I have over 20Tb of backed-up films, music I've owned over the years, on my small server. It might be convenient for many people to stream, but that's for them.
  • 3DoubleD - Friday, May 3, 2019 - link

    It would be most interesting to see these trends compared with the amount of total storage shipped per year. This data on a per market segment basis would be even more interesting. I'm curious if the number of units is going down because the average drive size is increasing. I'd guess that this effect is strongest in the data center market, but it might be present elsewhere. Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, May 3, 2019 - link

    Look at the graphs and read the article first please. Data center drive shipments are going up. The shrinking is primary due to consumer (PC/Laptop) HDD sales collapsing.

    Previous reports have shown total storage going up and HDD maker revenue fairly stable because the drives going away are low capacity low margin models; while the data center drives are both much more profitable/drive and keep going up in size.
  • ghostbit - Friday, May 3, 2019 - link

    So will we get discounts on WD Red/Seagate IronWolf or will they fall under the "enterprise" category? Reply

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