A market research report by International Disk Drive Equipment and Materials Association (IDEMA) Japan claims global shipments of hard disk drives totaled 425.8 million units in 2016, a drop of 9.2 percent versus the year before.
Production of 1.8-inch HDDs has almost come to an end, and sales of 2.5-inch HDDs used in notebooks and 3.5-inch units have been on the decline. However, HDDs used in nearline storage have witnessed sales growth, reflecting increasing demand for NAS (network-attached storage) from individual and home users as well as small- and medium-size businesses.
Shipments are expected to decline to 407.7 million units in 2017 but total shipped storage capacity is rising fast. In 2015, the output of HDD makers totaled 535.8 exabytes and this rose to 633 exabytes in 2016. For this year, the number is expected to hit 756 exabytes as the average storage capacity per HDD soaring.
There used to be a lot of HDD makers but the industry has seen a big wave of consolidation. At the moment, there are only three independent HDD makers left. This includes Seagate, Toshiba and Western Digital.