Market research firm IHS believes that about 1 million 2.5-inch drives will be shipping in desktop computers next year, up from "virtually zero" this year, IHS said.
By 2016, the segment is forecast to grow to 7 million units. The unit volume is dwarfed by the 3.5-inch market, which will retain a dominant position in the foreseeable future. However, the growth opportunity appears to be clearly shifting toward the 2.5-inch market. According to IHS, 26 milllion 3.5-inch HDDs are predicted to ship in desktop computers in 2013 and 31 million in 2016. In 2013, 2.5-inch HDDs will account for only 4 percent of the desktop HDD market, but will climb to 18 percent by 2016, IHS said
“With a maximum capacity of 1 terabyte, 2.5-inch HDDs are proving very attractive to PC makers for use in their next-generation all-in-one designs,” said Fang Zhang, analyst for storage systems at IHS. “Multiple all-in-one PCs have the potential to adopt 2.5-inch HDDs, including the iMac from Apple, the TouchSmart from Hewlett-Packard, the Series 7 from Samsung Electronics, the IdeaCentre from Lenovo, the Top Touchscreen from Asus Eee and all-in-one desktops from Vizio and Acer.”
The opportunity for 2.5-inch drives will grow as speed goes up and the price difference between the 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch decreases. “The 2.5-inch hard drive market may enjoy about four to five years of uninterrupted growth before low-priced, high-density solid state drives become more competitive,” Zhang said.