Sales of hard disk drives in the first quarter dropped by a whopping 35% year-over-year in Q1 2023 as PC and consumer electronics (CE) makers remained cautious getting new hardware due to uncertain demand. But the most surprising event during the quarter was continued shrinkage of nearline HDD shipments, the most lucrative part of the hard drive market.
Unit Shipments Down, Exabytes Shipments Dow
Seagate, Toshiba, and Western Digital shipped estimated 33.5 and 34.9 million HDD units, a 35% year-over-year decline, according to numbers from Trendfocus published by Blocks & Files.
|Row 0 - Cell 0||Q1 2023||Q1 2022||Change|
|Nearline||10.2 million||18.8 million||-54.3%|
|PC Client + CE||22.5 million||31.25 million||-28%|
|3.5-inch DT + CE||12.5 million||16.447 million||-24%|
|2.5-inch Laptop + CE||10 million||24.925 million||-33%|
Nearline HDDs have been bread and butter for hard drive makers for a while given their consistently increasing per-drive capacities. But in Q1 2023 only 10.2 million of such drives were shipped, down from 18.8 million from Q1 2022 and 10.51 million in Q4 2022. On the capacity side of matters, such drives shipped was around 157EBs, declining by 36% year-over-year (YoY) and 1% quarter-over-quarter (QoQ).
Seagate believes that the nearline HDD shipments are poised to grow in the future as their consumers (read: exascalers) expect their businesses to prosper.
"I will say for the medium-term, long-term, we don't see any difference," said Gianluca Romano, chief financial officer of Seagate, at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference (via SeekingAlpha). "I think they are very confident their business is going to grow as they were expecting they need to manage their short term down cycle and with no in some cases, in some cases, this inventory build-up, but we don't see any change in the long-term view."
As far as PC and CE-oriented drives are concerned, their shipments totaled 23.3 to 24.7 million units, a decline of 24% - 33% depending on the exact segment. The 2.5-inch HDD segmented recorded a yet another major year-over year decline of 33%. This decrease highlights the ongoing trend of hard drives PC and CE market share declining, so this was not a particularly surprising thing.
Seagate Retains Top Spot
As far as shipments of individual vendors are concerned, Seagate sold estimated 15 – 15.5 million hard drives and maintained its market share of around 44.8%, according to Storage Newsletter that cites numbers from Trendfocus.
|Supplier||HDD Units||Q/Q change||Y/Y change||Market share|
|Seagate||15.00 - 15.50 million||-2.3% — -1%||-34.7% — -32.6%||44.8% — 44.4%|
|Toshiba||6.30 - 6.70 million||-21.4% — -16.5%||-37.2% — -33.2%||18.8% — 9.2%|
|WDC||12.20 - 12.70 million||-5.4% — -1.5%||-38.2% — -35.6%||36.4% — 36.4%|
|TOTAL||33.50 - 34.90 million||-7.6% — -3.8%||-36.5 — -33.9%||100%|
Western Digital reportedly supplied some 12.2 – 12.7 million HDDs and commanded an approximately 36.4% share. Toshiba remained a distant third with an estimated shipment of 6.3 – 6.7 million units and a roughly 19% market share.
Does this mean SSD's are eating into HDD sales, or are people avoiding HDD"s and SSD's altogether?
I've always preferred to have the stuff I own at hand and not on some nebulous "cloud" that can disappear at our benevolent corporate overlords' moment's notice, but I definitely belong to a rapidly shrinking minority of "old-school" computer users. The newer generation seems to have no problem keeping everything on some other people's remote computers, from their games and movies to their porn collections, personal videos, and so on.
Thanks for that little tidbit. 🤗
You know, you can do both. And should. Like beer and tacos, it's not a mutually exclusive decision and you're best off choosing both.