Sluggish PC sales and inventory burn-off caused a sequential reduction of Hard Disk Drives (HDD) in 4Q of 2012.
According to preliminary data released by TRENDFOCUS, Inc., the retail and external HDD sales were solid in CQ4, but 2.5" shipments fell sharply.
Desktop/CE HDD shipments were up to around 55 million for the quarter. Both 3.5" retail HDD and desktop PC HDD sales fared better in CQ4. TRENDFOCUS says that desktop PC HDD demand will trend softly downward, as the movement to mobile PCs continues to take over. Even 3.5" CE HDD sales are projected to be flattish to down slightly as xVRs and retail applications transition to 2.5" form factor.
Notebook PC OEMs continued to draw down HDD inventory in CQ4, and 2.5" mobile/CE HDD unit shipments fell to 67 million, down from 75 million. Windows 8 had minimal impact on spurring new notebook PC sales. Ultrabook PC sales continue to disappoint, but it is inspiring a whole new line up of thin and light notebooks, which should become the prevailing form factor within a year or two. Notebook PC sales are expcted to remain flattish until the 2H 2013, when back-to-school and Christmas sales should spur slight improvement in market conditions.
Enterprise HDD shipments (mission critical and business critical) shipments rebounded slightly in CQ4, as unit shipments topped 14 million. Inventory accumulated during the first six months of 2012 was mostly worked off exiting the year; however, soft market conditions are expcted to temper demand through the first half of 2013. Traditional enterprise HDD shipments recovered modestly to top 7 million for the quarter. Business critical (nearline) HDD shipments fared better on a percentage basis and unit shipments improved to nearly 7 million for the quarter.
TRENDFOCUS also estimated that Western Digital's HDD sales reached the 60 million, which is down 3% Q/Q. The company's desktop/CE unit sales rebounded to over 24 million, up from 21 million in the prior quarter. It's 2.5" mobile volumes dropped 10% to approximately 29 million, down from 32 million in CQ3. Finally WD's enterprise demand stabilized, and unit shipments improved to approximately 6.5 million for the quarter.
Seagate shipped approximately 58 million HDDs in 4Q (flat Q/Q.) Shipments of 3.5" desktop/CE shipments were up to around 29 million.Mobile/CE HDD shipments eased to below 23 million in CQ4. Enterprise HDD volumes improved to over 6.5 million for the quarter.
Toshiba Shipped approximately 18 million in the same period (down 1 million Q/Q). 3.5", 1TB/platter program (transferred from HGST) shipments grew to over 10%. The company's mobile/CE shipments declined for a second consecutive quarter to below 15 million. Enterprise volumes (mission critical and business critical) were flat at just above 1 million.