Storage Station

A bird's eye view of the data storage industry.

Hard Drive Sales Up Despite Cooling Economy

How hot was the hard disk drive (HDD) market in 2007? Pretty darn sizzling, despite the cooling U.S. economy, according to Southern California-based industry analyst iSuppli.

2007 was indeed a year to remember for HDD makers, with shipments reaching 516 million units, up from 434 million in 2006. Factory revenue rose to $32.8 billion, up from $31.2 billion in 2006.

Some fast facts, courtesy of iSuppli:

--Worldwide HDD unit shipments grew by a prodigious 18.9 percent for the year. --Annual HDD shipments crossed the half-billion-unit shipment threshold for the first time ever. --Revenue rose by 4.6 percent

Beyond strong demand growth from notebook PCs and consumer-electronics products, HDD makers benefited from a second-half cease-fire in the price war that had dictated market conditions over the past three years, the researcher said.

Although the price war continued to rage in the first half of the year, the second half brought a rebound and an appreciation of the value of HDDs. Pricing was supported by the arrival of high-capacity 1TB HDDs, a key milestone in the face of technology challenges from NAND flash memory.

Seagate Technology maintained its lead in the global HDD market in 2007, with its share of shipments rising to 34 percent, up from 33.1 percent in 2006. The company shipped 175 million HDDs in 2007, up 22 percent from 144 million in 2006.

No. 2 Western Digital in 2007 shipped 113 million HDDs and increased its share to 22 percent, up from 19.6 percent in 2006. The company benefited from its foray into the enterprise secondary storage market with its premium-priced RAID edition drives.

No. 3 Hitachi Global Storage Technologies increased its share to 17.3 percent, up from 16.1 percent in 2006. Hitachi reversed its operating loss of $93 million in the fourth quarter of 2006 to achieve an operating profit of $95 million in the fourth quarter of 2007.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...