Hard drives: Sales collapse

At the end of 2022, Seagate, Toshiba, and Western Digital sold just over half as many hard drives as at the end of 2021. Data centers were particularly hard hit.

A weak PC market was followed by cautious cloud data center operators at the end of 2022, which resulted in particularly poor sales figures for the last three remaining hard drive manufacturers Seagate, Toshiba, and Western Digital: In the fourth quarter of 2022, more than 40 percent fewer HDDs were sold than in the same quarter of the previous year.

This is the result of the Trendfocus market research team, whose figures are shared, as usual, by the Storage Newsletter. Manufacturers sold 35.2 to 36.4 million HDDs at the end of 2022 – a year earlier it was almost 61.2 million and in the third quarter of 2022 around 38.4 million.

The minus is mostly due to the 3.5-inch models, which are primarily for use in data centers. Within just three months, sales fell by a quarter to 11.5 to 12.5 million units. This, in turn, hits Western Digital hardest, whose hard drive deliveries fell by 12.7 to 16.2 percent compared to the previous quarter, depending on the estimate. Seagate and Toshiba ended 2022 relatively better than WD after sharper falls in previous quarters — all three manufacturers aren’t taking much on a year-to-year basis.

HDD sales figures (Source: Trendfocus, via Storage Newsletter)
ManufacturerHDDs [millions]Change Q/Qchange y/ymarket share
Seagate15:10-15:60-3.9% to -0.7%-43.7% to -41.7%42.9-42.9%
Toshiba7.80-8.0-2.6% to -0.1%-39.3% to -37.7%22.2-22.0%
Western Digital12:30-12:80-16.2% to -12.7%-43.0% to -40.7%34.9-35.2%
In total35:20-36:40-8.3% to -5.2%-42.5 to -40.5%100%

3.5-inch HDDs for desktop PCs and workstations fell by a mid-single-digit percentage to around 12.5 million units. 2.5-inch models were the only category that recorded 15 percent growth to around 11.3 million units.

Such hard drives are primarily found in cheap devices and as additional data storage for SSDs in thicker gaming or workstation notebooks. According to the market observer Canalys, around 51.4 million notebooks were sold in the fourth quarter of 2022 – more than one in five had an HDD.

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