A year after the Thailand flooding disaster partially derailed
production, the global hard disk drive (HDD) industry has fully
recovered, with shipments to the computer market expected to hit a
record level this year.
HDD shipments in 2012 for the overall computer market, including
PCs, are forecast to reach 524.0 million units, up 4.3 percent from
502.5 million units last year, according to an IHS iSuppli.
The 2012 number will be the highest shipment figure on record in the
HDD books at year-end -but the achievement will not stand for long.
In fact, HDD shipments are projected to climb continually, the
stellar results of each year bested by the next in predictable but
welcome fashion until at least 2016. By then, HDD shipments will hit
575.1 million units, IHS said.
The forecast includes HDD shipments only to the PC compute segment,
which includes client HDDs for desktops and notebooks on the one
hand, and enterprise HDDs for servers and storage systems on the
other. The forecast does not include HDD shipments for other
applications such as in automotive, external hard drives or DVR
In contrast to the glowing performance of HDDs for the PC space,
annual HDD consumer-related shipments will decline this year from
"HDD shipments for computers will overcome a sluggish third quarter
to reach record levels in 2012," said Fang Zhang, analyst for
storage systems at IHS. "The yearly rise in HDD shipments is the
result of greater demand from the consumer and enterprise PC
segments, both of which continue to clamor for disk space in order
to hold storage-intensive media like music, videos and other forms
of social media content. As downloadable media content becomes more
readily accessible and affordable, so will the quest for storage
space continue in order to satisfy unremitting demand. Meanwhile,
the HDD industry has completely resolved disruptions to its HDD
manufacturing and component supply caused by the Thailand disaster
that struck one year ago."
Another major growth driver for the HDD industry will be the new
Windows 8 operating system to be launched in October. The market
also will be boosted by ultrabooks, including those using hybrid
HDD/SDD storage solutions, which will see an increase in shipments
in the fourth quarter, although volumes will be relatively low this
Both factors are believed to be the best hope by the beleaguered PC
sector to take on smartphones and tablets such as the iPad from
Apple - two devices that have gobbled up the once - flourishing
market of mobile computers like notebooks and netbooks.