Who is the largest manufacturer of hard disk drives?

The hard disk drive (HDD) industry has undergone consolidation over the past few decades, with a handful of companies emerging as the dominant manufacturers. Identifying the largest HDD maker requires looking at recent market share data to see which company ships the most unit volumes worldwide. The two leading vendors today are Seagate Technology and Western Digital, which together account for the vast majority of HDD sales.

Seagate Technology

Seagate Technology, founded in 1979 and headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, is currently the market leader when ranked by HDD unit shipments. According to estimates by market research firm TrendForce, Seagate shipped approximately 114 million HDD units in the third quarter of 2022, representing a 33.8% unit market share. This was down from Q3 2021 levels of 155 million units and 36.4% market share, due to ongoing pressures on HDD demand. However, Seagate has maintained a leading position within the industry thanks to its broad HDD product portfolio spanning different form factors and capacities for various end markets like client compute, enterprise servers, network-attached storage (NAS), surveillance systems, etc. The company offers popular HDD brands for specific segments such as BarraCuda, IronWolf, SkyHawk, Exos, and others.

Some key facts about Seagate as an HDD manufacturer:

  • Founded in 1979 in Scotts Valley, California and incorporated in the Cayman Islands
  • Headquartered in Dublin, Ireland and operates major manufacturing facilities in China, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore
  • Employs approximately 44,000 people worldwide as of 2022
  • Manufactures HDDs with up to 20TB maximum capacity as of 2022 for enterprise markets
  • Acquired Samsung’s HDD business in 2011 to become the market’s top vendor
  • Produces HDDs for personal computers, servers, network-attached storage, surveillance systems, gaming consoles, and other applications
  • Also manufactures solid state drives (SSDs), provides data storage systems and solutions
  • Generated $10.4 billion in revenue in fiscal year 2022

By leveraging acquisitions and technological innovations over its 40+ year history, Seagate has maintained a commanding position as the largest HDD supplier worldwide measured by market share and unit shipments.

Western Digital

The other major HDD vendor that competes directly with Seagate is Western Digital Corporation. Headquartered in San Jose, California, Western Digital is a computer storage company that also develops and manufactures HDDs for desktop and notebook PCs, enterprise servers, network-attached storage systems, surveillance cameras, gaming consoles, and other applications. According to TrendForce estimates, Western Digital shipped approximately 88.5 million HDD units during Q3 2022 giving it a 26.2% unit share. This was down from 99 million units and 23.3% share in Q3 2021.

Key facts around Western Digital as an HDD company include:

  • Founded in 1970 in Santa Ana, California and incorporated in Delaware
  • Headquartered in San Jose, California with main manufacturing operations in Malaysia, Thailand, and China
  • Employs approximately 65,000 people worldwide as of 2022
  • Manufactures HDDs up to 26TB for data center applications as of 2022
  • Key HDD brands include WD Black, WD Blue, WD Red, WD Purple, Ultrastar, etc.
  • Acquired Hitachi’s HDD business in 2012 to gain share versus Seagate
  • Also manufactures SSDs, provides data storage systems and cloud storage services
  • Generated $15.5 billion in revenue in fiscal year 2022

Western Digital operates several HDD production facilities strategically located close to key customers in Southeast Asia. The company has managed to remain a close second behind Seagate in HDD market share through its own acquisitions and technology partnerships over the past five decades.


While Seagate and Western Digital control the vast majority of the HDD market, other vendors like Toshiba remain active in manufacturing hard drives as well. Toshiba is a diversified Japanese conglomerate that makes products spanning from home appliances to industrial equipment. Toshiba’s HDD business operates under its Electronic Devices & Storage division. Some key points around Toshiba as an HDD vendor include:

  • Founded in 1875 and headquartered in Tokyo, Japan
  • Hard drive production part of broader Electronics division
  • Owns HDD manufacturing facilities in Japan and the Philippines
  • Focus on enterprise and data center HDD segment
  • Shipped around 16.7 million HDD units in Q3 2022 per TrendForce
  • Holds 5% unit market share, down from 6.3% in Q3 2021
  • Key HDD brand for enterprise is MG Series (MG06, MG07, etc)
  • Also develops NAND flash memory, SSDs, and semiconductor devices

While smaller than Seagate and Western Digital, Toshiba continues to maintain a presence in the HDD market targeting specific applications like cloud computing servers, NAS systems, and storage solutions for businesses. The company leverages its proprietary recording head and media technologies to manufacture high capacity, high performance HDDs.

Other Notable HDD Vendors

Beyond the top three of Seagate, Western Digital, and Toshiba, there are other HDD manufacturers that retain minor market share percentages globally. These include:

  • Hitachi – Now a subsidiary of Western Digital after being acquired in 2012, Hitachi still manufactures a small number of HDDs out of Japan primarily for enterprise servers and data centers.
  • HGST – Originally a merger of the HDD businesses of Hitachi and IBM, this company was acquired by Western Digital in 2012 as well. HGST drives are now branded as Ultrastar models within Western Digital’s broader portfolio.
  • Samsung – Exited the HDD market after selling its HDD business to Seagate in 2011. No longer manufactures hard disk drives.

The HDD industry has experienced massive consolidation with companies partnering, merging, or acquiring one another. Seagate and Western Digital have led this consolidation and now control over 90% of the overall market.

Market Share Summary

The total HDD market shipped around 335 million units in the third quarter of 2022 per data from TrendForce. The following table summarizes the unit market share percentages among the top vendors:

Company Q3 2022 Unit Shipments Q3 2022 Market Share
Seagate 114 million 33.8%
Western Digital 88.5 million 26.2%
Toshiba 16.7 million 5.0%
Others 115.8 million 34.0%
Total 335 million 100%

This data makes it clear that Seagate continues to lead the HDD market in quarterly unit shipments, closely followed by Western Digital in second place. Collectively these two vendors account for about 60% of global HDD unit shipments. Toshiba places third with around 5% share while a collection of smaller players make up the remaining third of the market.

Factors Driving Market Share

Several factors have allowed Seagate and Western Digital to attain higher market shares in HDDs compared to competitors:

  • Technology leadership – Continuous R&D allows Seagate and WD to introduce more advanced HDD innovations and be first-to-market with higher capacities and interfaces.
  • Broad product portfolio – The two leaders offer comprehensive HDD families spanning consumer desktop to high-end enterprise.
  • Customer relationships – Longstanding supply agreements with PC OEMs and data center builders provide steady volume.
  • Vertical integration – Owning and controlling multiple parts of the HDD manufacturing process improves efficiency and costs.
  • Economies of scale – Their size gives Seagate and WD leverage to keep HDD costs low through supply chain scale and optimized production.

By leveraging these competitive advantages, Seagate and Western Digital have maintained an effective duopoly within the HDD industry despite challenges from rival makers over the years.

Declining HDD Market

While the competitive situation has consolidated around Seagate and Western Digital, the broader HDD market has been contracting in the face of SSD adoption. Total HDD shipments peaked around 650 million units per year in the early 2010s. But the rise of solid state drives has caused a decline in HDD demand, with annual shipments now dropping below 350 million units.

SSDs have gained tremendous traction in client devices like desktop PCs, laptops, tablets due to superior performance, power efficiency, and ruggedness. The transition from HDDs to SSDs as the primary storage technology in computers is a major reason annual HDD shipments have fallen by nearly half over the past decade. Although HDDs still retain advantages in storage capacity per dollar, making them popular in data centers, NAS systems, and surveillance storage, SSDs are on an upward trajectory while HDDs trend down.

Seagate and Western Digital have responded to market headwinds by also expanding into SSDs through internal development and acquisitions. However, HDD technology remains a key strategic focus of these storage giants and will continue playing a major role in mass data storage, especially across enterprise and cloud environments where rapidly growing data demands make the lowest cost per TB crucial.

Outlook on HDD Market Share

Looking ahead, analysts project the current competitive situation in the HDD market to remain stable barring any major consolidation events. Seagate is expected to maintain its leading share followed closely by Western Digital. A new competitive threat emerged in 2016 when Seagate and Western Digital both had HDD supply agreements canceled by China’s Tsinghua Unigroup, which has been trying to build indigenous HDD production capacity in China and depend less on foreign technology.

However, Tsinghua has struggled to ramp up volume HDD output due to technological and operational challenges. It remains far behind the manufacturing and scale efficiencies of Seagate and Western Digital. Outside of China, there are no other looming players on track to disrupt the holds that Seagate and Western Digital have as the dominant HDD makers accounting for over 90% of global shipments.

The broader adoption of SSDs and decline in the HDD market is projected to continue over the next decade. But HDDs will still retain relevance for applications requiring massive affordable storage, preventing a complete collapse. As long as data storage needs continue growing across enterprises, data centers, and consumers, HDDs will serve a role due to higher capacities and lower costs than SSDs. This means Seagate, Western Digital, and other existing vendors are likely to remain the major players in HDD manufacturing. But their outlook depends on adapting to market shifts toward solid state flash storage through their own diversification efforts.


In conclusion, Seagate Technology stands as the current market leader in worldwide HDD shipments with around 35% unit share of the global market. It holds a dominant position but faces intense competition primarily from Western Digital, which usually trails closely behind with 25-30% share depending on the quarter. Together these two companies supply the vast majority of HDDs shipped worldwide for applications from PCs to enterprise servers.

While other vendors such as Toshiba remain active in the HDD space, the industry has consolidated significantly. The outlook for Seagate, Western Digital, and competitors will depend on their abilities to evolve their storage portfolios to capitalize on the ongoing transition from HDDs to SSDs across many segments. But HDD technology still excels in terms of cost per TB, meaning it retains a vital role in the world’s insatiable and growing data storage needs, especially in cloud data centers. This gives the major established HDD makers a path forward even as SSDs eat into the HDD market.