SSD Shipments To Double This Year, Hit 40 Percent Of Hard Drive Market By 2016

SSD shipments worldwide could reach 83 million units in 2013, up significantly from the 39 million SSDs shipped last year, reported IHS iSuppli in a report the company released Wednesday.

The El Segundo, Calif.-based analyst firm also estimated that SSD shipments would reach 239 million units by 2016, or about 40 percent of total spinning hard drive market that year.

[Related: The History Of The Hard Drive And Its Future ]

Those shipments include enterprise- and consumer-class SSDs as well as cache SSDs found in storage arrays, but not hybrid hard drives, which include an internal NAND memory component, IHS iSuppli wrote.

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The fast growth of the SSD market through 2016 is tied closely to expected growth in sales of Intel Ultrabook-based portable PCs and other ultra-thin PCs, which increasingly feature SSDs as a cache or as a primary storage device, wrote Ryan Chien, analyst for memory and storage at IHS iSuppli.

"While SSD shipments rose by 124 percent last year, growth actually fell short of expectations because Ultrabook sales faltered due to poor marketing, high prices and a lack of appealing features," Chien wrote. "However, if sales of the new generation of Ultrabooks take off this year as expected, the SSD market is set for robust growth."

The other primary driver of SSD shipment growth is the continuing fall in NAND flash memory pricing. The fall in component pricing leads to lower-cost SSDs, which will stimulate demand from both consumers looking for high-performance mobile devices and enterprises looking for ways to boost application performance, IHS iSuppli wrote.

Unit growth is coming even as the capacity of SSDs continues to increase. Two SSD manufacturers, Micron Technology and Mushkin, this month introduced the first SSDs to feature capacity of about 1 TB, while 2-TB SSDs are expected to hit the market shortly.