HDD Storage Capacities Skyrocketing, Outpacing Flash

he HDD industry, fueled by a major technology shift, is far from dead, according to a just-released report by market research concern TRENDFOCUS. The threat from flash is overblown and the HDD industry will grow to over $33 billion by 2011. Over 2.5 billion HDDs will ship in the next five years to numerous applications and devices.

According to TRENDFOCUS’ Storage Demand Analysis System 2007, the leading market forecast tool, the HDD market is healthy and vibrant. Manufacturers are transitioning to perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR), which allows storage capacities to grow by a factor of 10 in the next few years. For example, desktop PCs used an average of 148 GB of HDD storage in 2006, but PMR will give average desktop PC users storage capacities of more than 500 GB by 2010. HDD storage capacities will remain higher than those of flash, and PC capacities of one terabyte or more will be common.

“HDDs will remain the king of storage for years, despite the bluster from the flash community,” stated Mark Geenen, President of TRENDFOCUS. “Storage capacities are rising 40% annually, while costs are coming down. Demand from both the personal computer market and the expanding base of HDD-enabled CE devices will support tremendous growth through the decade.”

“Our research of the HDD and flash industries reveals that although there may be some common markets, the two technologies will not frequently clash. In fact, the HDD industry will probably be healthier financially,” added Geenen.

HDD market expansion is driven by the PC and consumer electronics (CE) markets. Traditional HDD markets like desktop PCs, mobile PCs, and servers will continue to grow over the next five years, aided primarily by demand from countries such as India and China, as well as surging orders for lower-cost mobile PCs. Mobile PC sales will drive a huge industry shift to 2.5” and smaller HDDs.

In CE, personal video recorders (PVRs), automobile navigation systems, digital audio/video players and host of devices will propel the HDD industry’s rapid expansion. “Flash can have the mobile phone market – HDD companies don’t need it to thrive. They will focus on value-added CE devices that combine computing and entertainment that need larger storage capacities,” added Geenen.

Seagate Technology, with a market share of more than 30%, leads the HDD market, followed by Western Digital, Hitachi GST, Samsung, Fujitsu, and Toshiba are competing across a range of markets.