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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  • voicequal - Friday, May 3, 2019 - link

    It depends on temperatures, flash density (i.e MLC, TLC, QLC), and wear levels, but SSDs are not generally spec'd for long term offline (unpowered) storage. Samsung's 840 EVO was a notorious example where read rates slowed over time until you overwrote those areas of flash with recent data.
  • beginner99 - Friday, May 3, 2019 - link

    Because even for games a cheap ssd is still easily 3xtimes more expensive than a HDD.

    And then there are does that don't stream (because the quality really is bad best example being the too dark GoT episode 3) and have their collection.
  • rocky12345 - Friday, May 3, 2019 - link

    Why are they sold probably because a lot of people want to have big storage and do not want to pay double or more for the same amount of space from a SSD drive setup. There is more use for large storage than just movies. With the size of most current games having only SSD as storage makes very little sense when you can get triple the amount of storage with standard hard drives at a fraction of the price of SSD drives.

    Yes SSD is faster but why pay double for half the space or less.
  • Shlong - Friday, May 3, 2019 - link

    Video people or content creators that want to save their original 4K video files. I have a massive storage of Blu-Ray's saved to NAS (much better quality than streaming), so HDD's still has its uses.
  • eastcoast_pete - Saturday, May 4, 2019 - link

    +1. Exactly. Gets even worse if you're making and editing videos yourself; 4K looks great, but good quality RAW or ProRes files are 200 or 400 Mbs; those positively eat storage.
  • saboken - Saturday, May 4, 2019 - link

    Having your data stored locally is safer than putting your trust in the cloud! Sure a HDD can fail but if you invest in 2 or 3 drives store them in a safe place EG fire safe it a Bank Deposit box it will remain in your custody also your not paying to have your data floating around in a cloud where there are many more risks! Hacker's, Bankruptcy (the plug being pulled on your data) etc! Trusting your data to the cloud is like handing your cash over to some invisible entity you never know where it is and if it will be there when you want it back!
  • eastcoast_pete - Saturday, May 4, 2019 - link

    Regarding having one's own cold storage, as you describe: I agree 100%. One of the always possible events that can disrupt or destroy online backups is your cloud storage provider going bankrupt. If you rely on online storage, read the contract text (esp. the fine print) very, very carefully.
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • 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.

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