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Report: HDD market dominance holds even as revenue to drop in 2013

Hard disk drives maintain dominance, even as HDD market's revenue is expected to fall in 2013, according to market researcher iSuppli.

Hard disk drive revenue is expected to fall in 2013, according to market researcher iSuppli, but the HDD market likely will retain its dominance in the storage market this year.

According to iSuppli's report, total revenue for the HDD market is expected to drop to $32.7 billion this year, a nearly 12% drop from the total in 2012.

The revenue drop comes after HDD revenue reached a record high in the first quarter of 2012, when sales hit $9.6 billion. But that record was set in the aftermath of 2011 flooding in Thailand, which disrupted facilities' production of spinning disk drives, driving up the cost of HDDs during much of the following year.

Even with a predicted drop in revenue, the HDD market will maintain its dominance in 2013 because of its cost-per-gigabyte advantage over SSDs and the use of HDDs in hybrid drives that combine spinning disk with a solid-state cache for frequently accessed data, according to iSuppli. "Bearing the lowest cost of any storage medium now on the market, HDDs will remain the final destination for the majority of digital content that needs to be filed away," the iSuppli report says.

Earlier this week, iSuppli reported that a "major growth area" for HDDs will be in the enterprise space, along with applications in cloud storage and related to "big data" projects. The firm noted that higher-capacity drives are expected this year, including a 5 TB drive from Western Digital that is intended for data center use.

In a previous report, iSuppli said shipments of SSDs are expected to more than double this year, thanks to the availability of a new generation of cheaper ultrabooks that rely on the storage devices. It's anticipated that those shipments will reach 83 million units, up from 39 million units shipped in 2012.

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