There were 425.8 million hard disk drives (HDDs) shipped globally in 2016, slipping 9.2% on year, and annual shipments kept decreasing from the peak of 651.4 million units in 2010, according to International Disk Drive Equipment and Materials Association (IDEMA) Japan.
Global HDD shipments are expected to drop to 407.7 million in 2017. Despite continual drops in shipment volume, total storage capacity for globally shipped HDDs rose from 535.8EB (Exabyte) in 2015 to 633EB in 2016 and will rise to 756EB in 2017, meaning that the average storage capacity per HDD is on the rise.
Production of 1.8-inch HDDs has almost come to an end, and sales of 2.5-inch HDDs used in notebooks and 3.5-inch units have been on the decline. However, HDDs used in nearline storage have witnessed sales growth, reflecting increasing demand for NAS (network-attached storage) from individual and home users as well as small- and medium-size businesses.
There are only four HDD vendors, that is, Seagate Technology, Western Digital, HGST under Western Digital (originally under Hitachi) and Toshiba.