The big picture: HDD shipments have been declining for the past decade, with consumers opting for flash-based storage more and more due to its significant speed and endurance improvements. Mobile devices benefit tremendously from the space and power savings SSDs offer, while the price per gigabyte has dropped substantially.
According to a new report by Trendfocus, worldwide HDD shipments dropped to approximately 45 million units in the second quarter, a 33 percent decline YoY. To put this into perspective, HDD vendors shipped over 650 million units in 2010, or about 162 million per quarter on average.
Demand for performance enterprise HDDs dipped slightly to around 2.5 million units as OEMs reportedly carried over inventory from the previous quarter. Continuing shortages for other components also hampered sales of HDD-equipped systems. Meanwhile, nearline hard drive shipments held essentially flat at about 19 million units for the quarter.
On the consumer side, the situation looks far bleaker. Total 3.5-inch desktop and consumer electronics HDD shipments fell by over 30 percent QoQ to roughly 13 million units. Trendfocus noted significantly weakened demand for the surveillance, PC, and retail segments.
The 2.5-inch HDD market saw the highest decline, with shipments plummeting 40 percent QoQ to about 11 million units. This should come as no surprise, considering that laptops nowadays almost exclusively ship with flash-based storage. Weakening demand in the retail sector also contributed massively to this reduction, with 2.5-inch consumer electronic shipments reportedly representing an insignificant fraction of the total as it only serves niche categories.
Chia (a cryptocurrency that people can farm by allocating unused disk space) sent HDD sales soaring about a year ago, no doubt contributing to the YoY drop we’re seeing today.
In related news, Microsoft is reportedly pushing OEMs to use only SSDs for boot drives starting next year.