Hard drive shipments grow despite slow economy

The hard drive industry is continuing to grow at a double-digit rate in spite of poor economic conditions in the United States and abroad, according to a new report by iSuppli. The market research firm says hard disk drive makers are thriving because of an "insatiable demand for low-cost, high-capacity storage devices," and they've managed to sidestep the impacts of the slowing economy by "learning how to control their costs."

iSuppli's report isn't all talk, of course—the firm also compiled some numbers. iSuppli says hard drive makers shipped 137 million units in the first quarter of this year, a 21% rise compared to the same time period a year ago. The research company expects shipments will have grown 16% year-over-year in the second quarter, and it says all six major hard drive vendors "are expecting the industry to continue to increase shipments in 2008."

That said, iSuppli forecasts yearly shipment growth of "only" 11% for 2008 as a whole. For reference, the firm says growth oscillated between 15.5% and 23% between 2003 and 2007, while 2002 saw shipments rise by 11.1%, and growth actually decreased by almost 4% in 2001.

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