With a consistent drop in HDD shipments, is the storage device about to become obsolete?

A recent report from Storage Newsletter discusses the decline in HDD shipments over the second quarter of this year, showing a consistent decline in the marketplace of 33% year over year. The suggested reason for the declining number is the lack of constant demand from clients, which may not be as surprising as it sounds.

Shipments of HDDs drop 33% yearly on weakening demand, raising the question of how much longer HDDs can survive

Last quarter, shipments of hard disk drives through the consumer and business marketplace only amassed 45 million units. For comparison, in 2010, HDDs peaked at 651 million units, which was 162 million on average in each quarter of that year.

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Tom's Hardware notes that the enterprise market has been consistently growing with the need for HPC, and cloud-based environments are inexpensive, minimal in power consumption, and offer the most significant storage sizes compared to SSDs. Also, HDDs have become more of a requirement with the growth of scientific advancements and more necessary needs for consumers to depend on digital space. Currently, business HDD demand is relatively stagnant, with a minimal decline in order compared to 2021.

Second quarter worldwide HDDs shipments by manufacturers. Source: Tom's Hardware

In the recent report, 2.5-inch HDDs dropped forty percent over several quarters, only amassing 11 million units shipped. The decline in shipments is stated to the shift to storage options that are "flash-based."

Consumer and desktop electronics came in the second decline, with thirty percent loss quarter over quarter to trail down to only 17 million units shipped. The lack of demand for retail, PC, and even surveillance utilization was the leading cause, with upwards of 8.6% inflation being the other cause. It is speculated that the cryptocurrency Chia, which utilizes storage to mine the currency causes an increase in demand. Still, with the decline in cryptocurrency alone, it is heavy speculation if that specific cause has had a significant effect.

Price reductions on SSDs have also caused consumers and businesses to look into the next-gen storage option compared to HDDs. Wafer costs for QLC and TLC NAND lowered as much as thirteen percent this last quarter, with an anticipated ten percent in the third quarter of 2022.

It is only a matter of time before HDDs will be replaced with SSDs in the consumer and business markets until a new, higher functioning storage solution arises in the technology sectors.

News Sources: Storage Newsletter, Tom'

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