SMB buyers help drive storage market growth

The worldwide personal and entry-level storage (PELS) market was up by 1.5% year over year with almost 17 million units shipped in the second quarter of 2014 (2Q14).

According to IDC, shipment values increased along with unit shipments by 1.8% from a year ago to $1.5 billion.

“The personal and entry-level storage market finished the second quarter of 2014 with 16.9 million units shipped and year-over-year growth of 1.5%, the first time since the second quarter of 2013 that overall market shipments have experienced a year-over-year increase,” says Liz Conner, Research Manager, Storage Systems.

“Driving this growth were the entry-level segment of the market, which primarily targets SOHO and SMB buyers, and the higher capacity/higher speed personal storage devices.

“The increased interest in both the entry level and higher-end portion of the personal storage market can be attributed to improved customer awareness of data storage, increased vendor offerings, shifting expectations of data storage, improved marketing/customer education, and average selling prices that more closely align with personal storage than enterprise storage.”

Hard disk drive (HDD) vendors continued to increase their share of PELS units shipped, gaining 3.3 points year over year to grow to 77.6% market share in 2Q14.

Although the entry-level storage market continued to be dominated by the mainstream non-HDD vendors with 58.8% unit shipment market share, their market share was down 13.0 points year over year.

Market highlights…

The entry-level storage market continued to experience significant growth in unit shipments this quarter, up by 20.3% year over year, based primarily on the 4-bay market, with also strong growth in the higher bay devices (5, 6, 8, and 12 bays), which saw units shipped grow by 22.6% year over year.

In 2Q14 the personal storage market continued to see a decline in the growth for dual-bay products, where unit shipments were down by -9.9% year over year. Single-bay personal storage devices remained the most popular choice, representing 97.4% of the personal storage units shipped in 2Q14.

Personal storage represents 98.7% of the PELS unit shipped and 86.0% of the shipment value in 2Q14.

Technology Highlights

Form Factor – The 3.5″ form factor saw a decline of -8.5% year over year in units shipped, while the 2.5″ form factor saw units shipped up by 4.4% year over year.

The 3.5″ form factor continued to give way to the more portable 2.5″ form factor, with 3.5″ losing 2.2 percentage points of unit market share year over year in 2Q14.

Capacity Range – End users continue to migrate to higher capacity points to meet storage needs. In the 3.5″ personal storage market, 2 terabyte (TB) devices represented 45.2% of unit shipments in the quarter.

For the 2.5″ personal storage market, 1TB devices captured 58.2% market share. For the entry-level market, capacity ranges are more varied due to multiple bays and vendors’ ability to partially populate devices. However, 4TB devices hold the most market share with 26.3% of units shipped.

Interface – USB continued to be the interface of choice for the PELS market. Its units shipped were up by 1.5% year over year this quarter.

Ethernet remained the interface of choice for the entry-level market, capturing 93.8% of market share. Thunderbolt continued to ramp up, posting a year-over-year shipment growth rate of 10%, albeit off a very small base.

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