As SSD prices continue to tumble, consumers and businesses are snatching up an increasing number of drives. According to market research firm IHS, 10.5 million solid-state drives shipped in the third quarter of this year. That figure is up substantially from the first two quarters, which had shipments of 5.9 and 7.1 million units. Sales are expected to continue climbing, as well. IHS predicts that 17.5 million SSDs will ship in the final quarter of this year.
To be fair, that forecast is down from the 20 million units IHS predicted earlier in the year. Third-quarter shipments failed to meet IHS' 13-million-unit projection, which is probably why the Q4 estimate was revised. Even the more conservative prediction says SSD shipments for the second half of the year will more than double the number of units shipped during the first six months.
IHS' numbers include the solid-state drives used in everything from ultrabooks to servers. The caching-specific SSDs designed to be used in conjunction with mechanical hard drives are part of the calculation, but hybrid drives that integrate flash memory are not.
For 2012 as a whole, IHS expects SSD revenues to reach $7.5 billion on shipments of 41 million units. If my math is correct, that works out to an average selling price of $183 per drive, which just happens to be around the sweet spot occupied by a lot of the 240-256GB SSDs right now.