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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  • Dizoja86 - Friday, December 6, 2019 - link

    Agreed. I bought a couple 2TB Seagate Green drives back in 2010 for $69 Cdn each.
  • Ian Cutress - Friday, May 3, 2019 - link

  • eastcoast_pete - Saturday, May 4, 2019 - link

    That's another term that can be used for many (most?) HTPC/mediaplex users also. Similarly, if one's hobby or job (or both) involves taking and editing videos, the Tb accumulate quickly, especially now with 4K being the norm.
  • rocky12345 - Friday, May 3, 2019 - link

    Hmm...I guess I better get those 2 8TB hard drives I was planning on getting for my new build this summer. I was planning on getting them in July but with this news the cost of the drives just may double by July form what they are now. I was also planning on getting 2 1TB NVMe PCI-e 3.0 x4 drives for that build as well and I'm getting those asap as well because of the news form last week about the memory manufactures cutting production on the chips.
  • dromoxen - Monday, May 6, 2019 - link

    Dont be afraid of the second hand market .. all recent hard drives are pretty robust and they will doubtless be better packaged than AMZ. I bought two 2x2tb wd black and they are still going 8 years later .. so add on their previous life 10+ years
  • name99 - Friday, May 3, 2019 - link

    IF (and this is a big if) the "tech world" gets its act together, Nidec will be just fine.
    For every hard drive that's sold, there are plenty of IoT uses for small motors that are currently not being done or are way more expensive than they need to be because they're still priced at the luxury level.

    The kinds of things I'm thinking of are things like motorized blinds or robot vacuum cleaners or tilt-and-pan cameras. When you think of what COULD be done by IoT, or done better, or done cheaper, we've only just started, and motors will be a substantial part of it.
    BUT it starts with the tech world getting its act together, and right now we're in that depressing state of new tech where everyone is obsessed with me-too products and almost no-one is actually thinking originality...
  • coburn_c - Friday, May 3, 2019 - link

    Maybe this has something to do with mechanical hard drive prices being stagnant for a decade, while every other storage medium (save optical) has improved dramatically.
  • StrangerGuy - Friday, May 3, 2019 - link

    1. Streaming has ironically cut demand to local storage for most consumers.
    2. Low end HDDs have higher BoM costs than low end SSDs = Less incentive for HDD manufacturers to continue making them.
    3. SSDs are least a magnitude higher in real world MTBF = less warranty costs for OEMs.
  • Beaver M. - Sunday, May 5, 2019 - link

    Maybe, but when they fail its always catastrophic. HDDs can most of the time be fixed. Even by yourself, if its just the board that is defective.
  • 808Hilo - Saturday, May 4, 2019 - link

    No need to backup anything. Just get a freedom of information act form and the NSA will restore your hard drives of the past 20 years :-) Its all there and thats why HD sell in the 100rds of millions.

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