sales have almost halved, but tape sales are on the rise. What’s happening?

In 2022, we published several articles on the topic of hard drive sales dynamics. Well, more precisely, how, dynamics – it’s really time to talk about a steep peak, since sales are declining very quickly. The reasons are quite transparent, but for most vendors of this type of device, this is a very painful problem. Now, many HDD manufacturers are actually in distress – both in the consumer and corporate segments.

But if “Villaribo” has problems, then in the conditional “Villabaggio” – a real holiday. By the latter we mean manufacturers of tape drives and everything connected with them. There, rather unexpectedly for analysts, there is a fairly active growth.

What’s with the hard drives?

If we talk about HDD, then in 2022, compared to 2021, there is a very strong drop. Manufacturers have shipped about 36 million units of such devices to the global market. And this is 42.5% lower than in 2021.

According to analysts, one of the leaders in this industry, Seagate, is in the worst position. It owns almost half of the global hard drive market, and negative factors primarily affected its business. Thus, the decline in Seagate supplies to the global market was about 43.7% compared to 2021.

Slightly (just a tiny bit) better off is Western Digital, where shipments are down about 43% compared to 2021.

Well, things are much better with Toshiba – the third “whale” of the hard drive market. The company managed to somehow slow down the decline, which was only 22.2% compared to 2021.

Why it happens?

Sales of hard drives began to fall not today, but in the middle of 2022 (then the decline was already very noticeable). And at first, sales were held mainly by corporate buyers. But at the end of 2022, it was they who caused an even greater drop in hard drive sales.

The reason is quite simple. Now most large and not very companies do not need to purchase large volumes of hard drives, since the business uses the reserves accumulated in warehouses. Even those companies that need HDDs are trying to get by with little bloodshed – simply for reasons of economy. Accordingly, new components are purchased, but weakly.

In addition, analysts, and even the management of companies supplying HDDs to the market, hoped for the growth of the cloud industry – especially in the US and Europe. Service providers and hyperscalers are the biggest buyers of storage media. Previously, new data centers were actively built, old ones were expanded and completed. But in the current conditions, this activity has become not as active as before. In 2022, you should not hope for the resumption of purchases from these companies – perhaps in 2023 there will be a turning point, but definitely not right now.

Another reason for the decline in the popularity of hard drives is the fall in the cost of SSDs, which leads to an increase in purchases of this type of storage media. The advantages of SSDs are many, and they used to be offset by their cost, but now it’s declining, so companies and consumers are choosing to buy SSDs over HHDs. And now the reliability of this type of device is also growing. In general, there is little good for hard drive suppliers. In December 2022, the prices for 512 GB SSD and HDD are almost equal. Well, it is clear that most buyers have decided to choose SSDs.

According to analysts, in particular, TrendForce, in 2023, HDDs will continue to leave a number of areas for the supply of electronic devices. So, most laptops will come with an SSD. And if in 2022 this figure was 92%, then in 2023 it will already reach 96%. In an effort to slow down the decline in sales, companies are reducing the cost of HDDs, but this cannot continue forever either, since companies are unlikely to operate at a loss.

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Well, ok, what about your Villabaggio?

We are talking about the growth in sales of tape drives. The growth here is quite significant – in 2022 the figure was 14%, and this is a positive trend. According to a number of experts, the growth will be even more noticeable in the near future.

Tape drives, of course, are used in the corporate sector – and it is companies that now prefer this type of storage media to everyone else. It is not suitable for all tasks, but only for archiving and long-term storage of very large amounts of data.

As for the volume of data storage, one tape drive (cartridge), from among modern models, can hold up to 45 TB of information.

But they have a very large capacity and are very reliable, which is extremely important for business. This led to an increase in sales. So, in 2022, the total volume of sold drives of this type amounted to 79.3 exabytes. In 2020, this figure was 52.08 EBs, and in 2021 it was 69.7 EBs. According to experts, by 2027 the volume of sold tape drives will be about 207.1 EB.

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