Just when it seemed the hard drive market had fully recovered from the devastating floods that hit Thailand in 2011, the venerable storage media has another threat on its hand: competition from solid state drives. Shipments of PC hard drives are forecasted to decline by eight percent in 2013 from 475.4 million units to just 436.9 million according to market analyst IHS iSuppi.
SSD shipments, on the other hand, are expected to climb 122 percent during the same period, from 31.1 million units a year ago to 68.9 million units by the end of this year. HDD revenue is expected to hit $26.4 billion in 2013, down from last year's record of $30.6 billion which was largely due to higher selling prices as a result of the aforementioned flooding.
What's more, the decline versus growth will continue next year and in the years ahead, iSuppli notes.
The odds are stacked against the HDD industry as it is suffering the effects of a depressed market resulting from a weak global economy. Additionally, upgrades are not being made for desktop and notebook PCs while at the same time, replacement cycles are getting extended. To make matters worse, the industry is being cannibalized by mobile handsets and tablets - all of which utilize flash storage.
By 2017, iSuppi believes that PC SSD revenue will come close to that of the PC HDD market: $22.6 billion versus $23.5 billion, respectively. It's worth pointing out that PC SSD revenue also includes the cache SSD segment which uses NAND flash alongside a traditional hard drive.