Hard Drive Prices to Remain Inflated Throughout 2012
In Q4 2011, HDD shipments dropped by 26 percent over the same period in the previous year. Shipments will by 13 percent in Q1 and 5 percent in Q2 on an annual basis, IHS believes. In Q3, the market will stabilize and grow by 2 percent and bounce back with 49 percent in the fourth quarter of this year. Sequentially, HDD shipments are predicted to climb 14 percent in Q1, 11 percent in Q3 and 4 percent in Q4.
“The recovery of global HDD manufacturing has begun and will continue during each quarter of 2012,” noted Fang Zhang, storage analyst for IHS. “However, the recovery will be prolonged for at least two more quarters, as supply constraints keep unit shipments from climbing on an annual basis until third quarter." The shortage will translate to continued inflated prices throughout 2012, the firm said.
HDD makers and component suppliers have resumed only partial production in Thailand and have shifted some of their manufacturing to other countries to alleviate the impact of the supply shortage. According to IHS, Western Digital has been the HDD manufacturer most impacted by the floods and is not expected to return to full production until September.
IHS said that the Thailand flood has caused the global average selling price (ASP) for HDDs to jump by 28 percent in Q4 2011. Prices are forecast to decline by 3 percent in Q1 and by 9 percent in Q2. “Prices will remain high for a number of reasons, including the higher costs associated with the relocation of production, as well as higher component costs because of flooding impacts among component makers,” Zhang said. “Furthermore, PC brands have signed annual contacts with HDD makers that have locked them into elevated pricing deals for the rest of the year.”