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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  • eastcoast_pete - Saturday, May 4, 2019 - link

    (: The NSA is probably one, if not the top buyer of HDDs. Their data storage facilities are enormous.
  • svan1971 - Saturday, May 4, 2019 - link

    The cost and performance is to blame, hard drive manufactures have stuck it to consumers for years.
  • paul sss - Saturday, May 4, 2019 - link

    i looked into buying a 4TB hhd in the last 3 months.
    i problem was everyone was selling bare drives with no warranty buy the manufacturer.
    bare drives are considered OEM and too be warranted by the seller.
    i was looking at Neweggdotcom.
    and if you pour thru the reviews it seems like newegg is selling used drives alot with hundreds of hours on them when they are too be new.
  • Destoya - Sunday, May 5, 2019 - link

    Look into buying a external HDD and either using it as-is or shucking the case and installing it in your system. I was able to get a new WD 8TB for $120 with a rebranded Red inside a few weeks ago. The same drive is $230 if you buy it bare.

    Told myself I wasn't ever going to buy a HDD again but the price was right.
  • Cliff34 - Saturday, May 4, 2019 - link

    What I like to know is whether the sales of SSD is making up for the loss of HDD sales. I think there's a general market slowdown for both HDD and SDD. Then again with the recent drop in price for SSD and increasing SSD capacity to 2tb (and soon 4 TB), more people are snagging them to replace their HDDs
  • ruzveh - Sunday, May 5, 2019 - link

    HDD princes are the same even after a decade and there is no advancement in this department. I want to buy 5 HDD more but cant due to continued high prices. 8 years back 8TB HDD were selling for $180 and even today it is around $200. Demand increased but prices never came down. Today they will feel heat from SSD and other competition and one day they will eventually fail coz of their arrogance
  • Beaver M. - Sunday, May 5, 2019 - link

    Its pretty obvious they fixed the prices. Cant prove it though, since they all know what to do without talking to each other.
  • smartthanyou - Sunday, May 5, 2019 - link

    Don't worry hard drive fans, chances are they will still be included in iMacs for years to come. ;)
  • jjj - Monday, May 6, 2019 - link

    Next year will be worse than they expect as at least Sony is going SSD but Microsoft would be likely to go SSD too for next gen console.
  • Targon - Monday, May 6, 2019 - link

    With the move to SSDs, combined with the problems at Intel driving down sales of desktop and laptops(because OEMs have been slow when it comes to selling more AMD based machines), it makes sense for hard drive motors to be sliding downward. We will also see a similar decline in the next few years away from 2.5 inch SSD drives to m.2 drives(both SATA as well as NVMe), and people will be talking about that market going away since every machine will have at least one M.2 slot for storage.

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