Market researchers believe that the HDD industry will be able to recover this year and grow unit shipments again.
The destructive Thailand flood caused HDD shipments to decline by 4.5 percent in 2011 year-over-year, but 2012 is expected to bring 7.7 percent unit growth. IDC forecasts an average annual growth rate of 9.6 percent between 2011 and 2016.
"In many respects, the hard disk drive industry has collectively hit the 'reset' button," said John Rydning, an IDC research vice president in a prepared statement. "A reset of the HDD industry structure should allow for the remaining HDD industry participants to slowly reduce HDD prices from current levels at a rate that still delivers value to customers, while at the same time ensuring sufficient funding is available to develop new HDD technologies that are needed to improve HDD capacity, performance, reliability, power consumption, and security."
Long-term growth, however, will only be possible if the major HDD manufacturers will be able to evolve into storage device and storage solution suppliers that address more markets than they do now. IDC believes that client PC HDD revenue will substantially decline over the next few years, while HDD demand from personal storage, entry-level storage, and enterprise applications (combined) is predicted to increase. The market research firm said that enterprises will make up the lion's share of sales down the road.
The company also noted that the cost of SSDs is not yet at a level where these devices can be easily justified for integration in an average PC. The opportunity for HDD makers is to convince PC vendors that hybrid HDDs are the more cost effective solution over SSDs, IDC said.