Data from research firm TrendFocus reveals sales of hard disk drives are dropping hard. A total of 88-89 million units were shipped in Q4 2018, a sharp decline versus the 104.8 million shipped in Q4 2017. Sales declined across all HDD categories, with 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch consumer desks being hit hardest:
The single largest category was 2.5-inch mobile and consumer electronics (CE) drives at 44-45 million shipped, a 13 per cent drop annually from around 51 million the year before. Gaming market shipments, however, declined less than TrendFocus had expected – so gamers appear to be committed to spending on their rigs.
The next largest category was 3.5-inch desktop and CE drives, with 27.5 million drives shipped, down 23 per cent year-on-year from around 35.7 million of the prior year's Q4.
The enterprise HDD market declined less hard, but there's no safety in these markets either:
The third category was nearline and other high-capacity (3.5-inch) drives at 11 million supplied, down 9.5 per cent on the year from about 10 million.
Finally, 5.5 million mission-critical enterprise drives were shipped, down 4.7 per cent on the year from around 5.8 million.
In this declining market, Seagate remains the largest shipper, with shipments of 36.75 million units last quarter, down 8 percent year-over-year. Competitor Western Digital shipped 30.5 million units, down 28 percent year-over-year.
The reasons behind the decline are simple. First up there's a shift from desktops to laptops and mobile devices, and secondly the HDD is slowly being replaced by the much faster, but more expensive SSD.