HDD makers shipped a record amount of storage in Q2 2021


manufacturers have seen a small increase in shipments in the second quarter. As expected, consumer-grade HDDs are falling out of favor as more people choose SSDs, but this is somewhat compensated for by a healthy increase in demand for enterprise-grade HDDs.

Back in June, Seagate and Western Digital said they would increase production, after noticing an upswing in demand for hard disk drives caused in no small part by Chia cryptocurrency enthusiasts, who have to use ridiculous amounts of storage to create so-called “plots.” After all, HDD shipment volumes have been going down for years, and last year SSD shipments surpassed those of mechanical hard drives.

Whether or not they made the right bet is hard to say at this point. According to market data from TrendFocus, manufacturers managed to ship 67.6 million HDDs in the second quarter of this year, which is a 5 percent increase compared to the previous quarter. On the other hand, Nidec — who is the largest supplier of hard drive motors in the world — says the industry likely shipped around 64 million units, which is an increase from the estimated 63 million units delivered in the first quarter but differs significantly from the TrendFocus estimate.

Seagate is still the king of HDDs with over 28 million drives shipped in the second quarter, for a total capacity of over 152 exabytes. However, Western Digital has seen relatively more growth compared to the first quarter (9 percent), with 25.4 million drives shipped and a total capacity of over 148 exabytes. Toshiba is still the smaller of the three with almost 14 million drives shipped and a total capacity of almost 50 exabytes.

Overall, HDD makers shipped a record combined capacity of 350.7 exabytes. With Chia’s price drop under $300 from their all-time high of $1,685, this trend may reverse in the near future. As such, manufacturers are probably more optimistic about the 20 percent uptick in shipments for enterprise-grade nearline hard drives, which clocked in at 19.3 million units and make up more than two thirds of all HDD shipments. As for consumer HDDs, their gradual decline seems unstoppable.