Nearline drives are bright spot in Gartner HDD forecast

Nearline disk drive capacity shipments and revenues will grow at double-digit percentages between 2019 and 2024, according to Gartner. The tech research firm predicts other disk categories will decline, with notebook HDDs heading the way of the dodo.

Aaron Rakers, a senior analyst at Wells Fargo, presented subscribers with Gartner hard disk drive (HDD) market notes for Q3 2020 and estimates for 2019-2024.

The total HDD market will decline by 6 per cent y/y in 2020 to $20.7bn, which follows a 12 per cent y/y decline in 2019 at $22.1bn. However, revenue should reach $21.9bn in 2021 (+5 per cent) and $22.6bn in 2022 (+4 per cent).

Gartner forecasts HDD market revenue overall will decline at 1.5 per cent CAGR through to 2024, with sales propped up by nearline disk drive growth and a small surveillance drive contribution.

Nearline 3.5-inch high capacity HDD exabytes shipped will grow 39 per cent 2019-2024 CAGR. Revenue is estimated to grow at 14 per cent CAGR, expanding from $8.9 billion in 2019 to $17.1 billion by 2024.

This implies nearline revenue will grow share of total HDD revenue from 40 per cent in 2019 to 55 per cent in 2020, 62 per cent in 2021, and c.84 per cent by 2024, according to Rakers.

Nearline HDD capacity will expand from 52 per cent of total HDD capacity shipped in 2019 to 70 per cent in 2020 and 86 per cent by 2024.

Total non-nearline HDD capacity shipped will decline at -1.3 per cent CAGR  2019-2024. Overall non-nearline HDD revenue will decline from $13.2bn in 2019 and $9.4bn in 2020 to less than $3.4bn by 2024.

SSD cannibalisation will eat up mission-critical enterprise HDD revenue – $1.8bn in 2019, and zero in 2024. Gartner expects  notebook PCs to move to a 100 per cent SSD/flash attach rate by 2024, an increase from 88 per cent in 2020.

The mobile and consumer HDD market will decline from $5.65bn in 2019 and $3.7bn in 2020 to slightly more than $820m by 2024. The 3.5-inch client and consumer HDD market is estimated to decline from $5.72bn in 2019 and $4.2bn in 2020 to $2.55bn by 2024. 

Surveillance drives will see some growth; with shipped units growing at nearly four per cent CAGR for 2019-2024.