Wednesday, October 26, 2005

In-Stat: Consumer Electronics Is Major Growth Area For Hard Drives

In-Stat has issued a new report that finds the drive for greater storage capacity will lead to shipments of hard disk drives for Consumer Electronics devices to grow from 40 million units in 2004 to an estimated 240 million units in 2009. In-Stat predicts "significant growth may come from portable devices such as PDAs, digital camcorders, and mobile phones."

Stephanie Guza at In-Stat said, "Alternative storage solutions, such as improved Flash, will continue to compete against small form factor HDDs. Nevertheless, HDD manufacturers are primed for impressive growth in the CE segment, especially as shipments of 1-inch HDDs escalate due to growth in the portable CE space."

Key findings include:

  • The 1-inch-and-smaller HDD market will win out over the forecast period and represent 50% of all HDDs shipped to the CE segment by 2009.
  • Total worldwide shipments of hard drives will increase dramatically over the next five years, growing from approximately 304 million in 2004 to 500 million in 2009.
  • As a result of demand for storing increased amounts of data on smaller, portable devices, HDD manufacturers have strengthened efforts to introduce products utilizing perpendicular recording.
I can see an increased use of hard drives for portable video, audio and possibly gaming devices, but have a hard time believing HDD-enabled cell phones will be more than a niche market due to design, durability and cost issues. Non-volatile memory and/or memory card slots seem to be better suited for the job.

To put it in better perspective, Strategy Analytics predicts the global handset market will reach 800 million units this year. Even if the overall market for hard-drive enabled CE devices hits 240 million by 2009 and the handset market stays the same, at most handsets with drives will be 30 percent of the total market. Not bad, but not mass market either...