Thailand flood still inflating hard drive prices after one year

By on November 9, 2012, 4:00 PM

The Tech Report has taken a detailed look at hard drive prices, revisiting them more than one year after the devastating Thailand floods which stifled mechanical drive production. What their analysis uncovers is likely what storage consumers had been fearing: the vast majority of hard drives are still considerably more expensive than their pre-flood price tags.

Produced by an unusually ruthless monsoon season, the catastrophic floods were estimated to cost the country over $45 billion in damages. A whopping 65 of the country's 72 provinces were declared flood disaster zones. With the world's two largest drive manufacturers so heavily reliant on Thai production, Western Digital and Seagate, it was just a matter of time before prices sky rocketed -- and that they did, with some models hitting triple their original price.

On the bright side, a select number of laptop hard drives have actually dropped in price since their pre-flood costs. It's a minority of models, but includes some commonly found drives like the WD Scorpio Blue 1TB (-26%), Seagate Momentus XT 500GB (-20%) and Hitachi Travelstar 5K750 750GB (-19%).

If you're shopping for a 3.5" desktop drive though, you'll most likely be out of luck with a mean price hike of 35 percent. The biggest increase on the list, the Samsung EcoGreen F4 2TB, is 63 percent more expensive than it was in 2011. Incidentally, Samsung's hard drive division was purchased by Seagate -- one of the companies hardest hit by the floods. More common 500GB and 1TB desktop models tend to fare better overall, with the median price increase landing somewhere around 31 percent.

Some analysts believe signs of the flood will survive well into 2014.

Pricing information comes from Camelegg, which tracks prices Newegg, Amazon and Best Buy. Check out The Tech Report's full article for a detailed look.




User Comments: 21

Got something to say? Post a comment
SCJake said:

Didnt WD or Seagate release something about "dont ever expect to see prices as low as they were preflood"?

aka "WE HAS ALL TEH MONIES"

Guest said:

Didn't the "mightiest nation on earth, according to obama" has a law regarding monopolies and/or price fixing?

time to stretch the long arm of the law on the lawless.

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

Pre-flood I got a WD Green 1TB (OEM) for $64cdn.

Couple months ago I got a WD Green 2TB for $99cdn w/$10 off.

Guest said:

A month ago,I bought a 3-tb seagate sata hdd for about ~183$ equivalent.

it should have been for ~176$ or less.

1 person liked this | avoidz avoidz said:

It's got so bad I'm starting to scavenge hard drives from DVRs and old desktops.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The inflated rates are not that bad. Sure the prices are still inflated $5 to $10 but thats nothing compared to what they were.

Guest said:

Wouldn't be easier to build another one of that Thai factory, at a place where are no monsoons, tornadoes, vulcanos, earthquakes, blizzards, African warlords, etc.? Like, the more half the god-damn Europe?

Guest said:

But....its not that the world its getting out or new hard drives....it seems that they are fixing the prices and making all of us to pay the disaster......so why they dont use their billions to get up again? its not like dealing with a normal supplier on the streets.

and with the SDD drives why should I care about a normal HDD with extra price and lower performance? its not like offer and demand is pushing the prices

ikesmasher said:

Didn't the "mightiest nation on earth, according to obama" has a law regarding monopolies and/or price fixing?

time to stretch the long arm of the law on the lawless.

because we have a right to enforce our laws internationally. kk.

Staff
Jesse Jesse said:

Didn't the "mightiest nation on earth, according to obama" has a law regarding monopolies and/or price fixing?

time to stretch the long arm of the law on the lawless.

because we have a right to enforce our laws internationally. kk.

@ikesmasher, see megaupload.

1 person liked this | PinothyJ said:

Didnt WD or Seagate release something about "dont ever expect to see prices as low as they were preflood"?

aka "WE HAS ALL TEH MONIES"

You people need to stop being so goddamn selfish! The companies involved invested BILLIONS and BILLIONS of dollars into the country's recovered effort -- this did not come from the government or charity organisations. I like how the way you thank them is demand they NEVER see that money again and expect them to sell their devices to you whilst delivering a negative or stagnant profit.

No wonder the USA is such a joke, financially, with that kind of attitude...

ikesmasher said:

@ikesmasher, see megaupload.

websites that can be controlled from country to country are different, this would be telling other countries (ex Thailand) what to do

1 person liked this | captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

You people need to stop being so goddamn selfish! The companies involved invested BILLIONS and BILLIONS of dollars into the country's recovered effort -- this did not come from the government or charity organisations. I like how the way you thank them is demand they NEVER see that money again and expect them to sell their devices to you whilst delivering a negative or stagnant profit.
Well Seagate, sometime in the not too distant past announced they has sold, 1.5 billion, (with a "B" , hard drives. On this momentous occasion , they held a contest to giveaway "3", (that's three, with a "3" , external HDDs. So, while many puppies were lapping at their heels for this display of largesse, as you might imagine, I remained abundantly underwhelmed, while at the same time stocking up on WD "Caviar Blacks". That was during a time period also, that many of Seagate's drives over 500GB, were busy, "bricking", at their earliest opportunity.

So, you sold 1,500,000,000 Hard drives, and you're going to give away three. WOW...that's hubris!

The link to the story: [link]

Would you like me to link the bricking scandal for you also, or should we pretend it didn't happen?

So, to paraphrase Mark Twain, "rumors of Seagate's benevolence have been greatly exaggerated"...

[link]

No wonder the USA is such a joke, financially, with that kind of attitude...
There are so many places in the world where Americans are a joke for the very opposite reason. Nobody respects us for paying the asking price, and not haggling. Where are you from? Someplace that isn't a joke? Just thought I'd ask, since it seems like you want to make this a political issue.

The HDD manufacturers aren't above price gouging, any more than the oil companies are above creating shortages for more monetary pain at the pump. For that matter, neither is Newegg.

At the end of the day, it seems like it should fall to the drive manufacturers responsibility, under the umbrella of "noblesse oblige", to rebuild the area surrounding their fabs Since if nobody had a place to live, they wouldn't be able to work for even the pittances they are paid. Who knows, maybe if the workers are grateful enough, they won't even think to ask for raises anytime soon.

...[ ]....and with the SDD drives why should I care about a normal HDD with extra price and lower performance? its not like offer and demand is pushing the prices
Oh boy, we got a live one here. Although, I suppose if you're already willing ti be ripped off at the current selling prices of SSDs, it would sort of fall into place logically that you wouldn't actually be aware of being ripped up on the price of a regular hard drive. I suppose being oblivious has its comforts and virtues.

Guest said:

I just love it how everyone complains and moans about price fixing, how everyone is in on this "revelation", and yet nobody (neither people nor government control agencies) are doing jack shit about it. Apparently ensuring that Firefox doesnt lose another precious 9 million downloads to IE is more important issue to some...

A perfect reminder of how everything is ever handled when it comes to anything marginally related to politics/business...

Anyway, to the people arguing about the research and development expenses of the companies - I do know about that, and I also know that before the floods the HDs were making a very small profit margin for the above mentioned companies. But thats not the point. The point is that they put themselves into that situation, by massively overproducing the supply and lowering prices to a point where they backed themselves into a corner, noticed that they werent making enough money out of the consumers, and had to find someone to blame to justify the transfer of their need for higher profits directly on the consumer. The flood was that magic someone (force of nature and all that, what can you do, sigh). The retailers of course were only glad to jump on that bandwagon (NewEgg in particular took advantage of the panic and raised prices on some HDs 3.5 times in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas, I wonder how much they made off the public ignorant in the matter), and an argument can be made they the worst offenders were not really the companies but the retailers. I read the reports, and while the companies did exaggerate the amount of damage and supply issues - the drop in production wasnt that massive, and what drop was there, was mostly restored in 3 month, not a year like they say - but the fact is that there was never a sudden critical lack of harddrives, there was in fact an overstock of them just before the floods, and the ones benefiting on this the most were the shops selling their large stock purchased at prior price levels at 2-3x their base cost. The companies did make money on this too, but it wasnt a massive exploit like everyone likes to think.

I'd like to think that the public outcry and reaction would have been a lot better if it wasnt for the behavior of the retail stores in the immediate few months after the floods, most people would have been able to understand 25-40% base cost increase by the manufacturers if the retailers didnt attempt to make an extra buck for themselves on top of that. But thats just me.

Guest said:

The real problem is that this sets a precedent, telling companies that it is okay to solve their problems / increase margins by blaming price fixing on the forces of nature and creating panic, and its okay for the retailers to take advantage of that situation and their customers without any reasonable restraint (but that one is actually okay because we live in a capitalistic world, working as intended, no?).

The problem then is what to do if something like this happens to flash memory industry, who is also crucial to today's many forms of hardware, or cpus or whatever...

Funny thing, in the past I used to play something called Eve Online, which had a very complex economy simulator, and used to do exactly this to make money in that game...

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I just love it how everyone complains and moans about price fixing, how everyone is in on this "revelation", and yet nobody (neither people nor government control agencies) are doing jack **** about it. Apparently ensuring that Firefox doesnt lose another precious 9 million downloads to IE is more important issue to some...
Well, the first obstacle in the path of doing "something about price fixing", is being able to prove it.

Proving that Firefox has more or less downloads than times past, or is losing downloads to other browsers, is a far easier thing about which to round up the statistics. But, I disagree that it's unimportant.

Firefox losing ground, is emblematic of Google ramming "Chrome" down peoples throats, almost to the point of installing it via drive by downloads. An-ndddd......the topic for another thread.

So, I agree with you in premise, but I think you made a rather unfortunate, "apples vs. oranges" comparison, as a choice of vehicle for your conclusion.

In a broader sense, societies and people today in general, are fixating on miniscule, superficial, and inconsequential things and details, as a general and widespread rule, rather than an exception.

Anyway, to the people arguing about the research and development expenses of the companies - I do know about that, and I also know that before the floods the HDs were making a very small profit margin for the above mentioned companies. But thats not the point. The point is that they put themselves into that situation, by massively overproducing the supply and lowering prices to a point where they backed themselves into a corner, noticed that they werent making enough money out of the consumers, and had to find someone to blame to justify the transfer of their need for higher profits directly on the consumer. The flood was that magic someone (force of nature and all that, what can you do, sigh).

How could "R & D" costs, have possibly worked their way into this thread?

You could almost draw the conclusion the "the great flood", was good for business, since it served to mask other overarching issues such as buyouts and mergers, which have to be engineered to stifle competition and inflate prices. It always infuriates me when one company starts poor mouthing that they're losing business to another company. It often turns out both companies are part of the same conglomerate. So.., as it sometimes turns out, the money has simply been put into another pocket of the same suit..

The retailers of course were only glad to jump on that bandwagon (NewEgg in particular took advantage of the panic and raised prices on some HDs 3.5 times in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas, I wonder how much they made off the public ignorant in the matter), and an argument can be made they the worst offenders were not really the companies but the retailers. I read the reports, and while the companies did exaggerate the amount of damage and supply issues - the drop in production wasnt that massive, and what drop was there, was mostly restored in 3 month, not a year like they say - but the fact is that there was never a sudden critical lack of harddrives, there was in fact an overstock of them just before the floods, and the ones benefiting on this the most were the shops selling their large stock purchased at prior price levels at 2-3x their base cost. The companies did make money on this too, but it wasnt a massive exploit like everyone likes to think.

I'd like to think that the public outcry and reaction would have been a lot better if it wasnt for the behavior of the retail stores in the immediate few months after the floods, most people would have been able to understand 25-40% base cost increase by the manufacturers if the retailers didnt attempt to make an extra buck for themselves on top of that. But thats just me.

I share your sentiments. I have a hard time getting my head around whether or not there's an actual difference between, "the law of supply and demand", and, "price gouging". It seems to me, if there is a difference, it's so the price gouging is just enough to pass for supply and demand, and you have seeded enough cash to bribe members of congress to declare it, "supply and demand".

As for retailers raising the price on items of old stock on hand, to reflect the profit margin they'd like to maintain on new stock with a higher purchase cost, um not exactly front page news. Gosh, then there's the old trick of not supplying commissioned sales people with the actual dealer cost. Any promotions, free merchandise, or discounts for large volume, very often aren't reflected in the sales person's cost sheet.

Amal Perera said:

One word. Insurance.

1 person liked this | captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

One word. Insurance.
Oh you betcha! All you have to do is wave a magic wand over a long overdue insurance check and, "poof", you'll have a big pile of hard drives.

Guest said:

Simpel if you think somting cost to much then do not buy it. If you paid to much this is your own falt. I just want to sceam at retards that bicth about the cost of gas, then jump into there PickUp truck or SUV and drive a tow blocks to the store. The reason gas is going up is becuse 1 inflasion, 2 were using way to much of it on nothing. If you notice that in 2007 gas was at a record high. Then everone panic they starded trading the SUV's for small cars, plus driving less. Then the price came back down then they starded driving more and rebuying SUVs. But everone can keep blaming the big conspiracy. Or just drive less and let sulpy and demand do it's thing.

VitalyT VitalyT said:

Good. HDD-s are phasing themselves out.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Simpel if you think somting cost to much then do not buy it. If you paid to much this is your own falt. I just want to sceam at retards that bicth about the cost of gas, then jump into there PickUp truck or SUV and drive a tow blocks to the store. The reason gas is going up is becuse 1 inflasion, 2 were using way to much of it on nothing. If you notice that in 2007 gas was at a record high. Then everone panic they starded trading the SUV's for small cars, plus driving less. Then the price came back down then they starded driving more and rebuying SUVs. But everone can keep blaming the big conspiracy. Or just drive less and let sulpy and demand do it's thing.
I take it that English is not your native tongue..

Beyond that, I drive a motorcycle 365 days a year, weather permitting.So, lecture someone else.

You presume you know a lot about oil prices, but you don't. There are a lot of geopolitical forces acting on the price of oil, it's not anywhere near as simplistic as "supply and demand".

I've been around, and driven during, the 6 day war, gas lines, the Arab oil embargo, and the creation of "OPEC". So no, it's not simply, "supply and demand, it's price fixing, competition for supply, and other factors.

The only thing you're absolutely correct about, is people's stupidity when it comes to forgetting the bad times, and over indulging during the good ones!

But with that said, as of now, oil is organic to the function of a modern society. We can't live with the prices, but we can't live without oil either.

Other than that, you might consider joining Al Queda, and take advantage of their co-op camel transport pool. I mean, just to show your heart's in the right place with respect to fuel economy and the environment.....

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.