In addition to killing well over 200 people and displacing millions in the region, the July 2011 floods in Thailand provided some rather dramatic shocks to the storage market with the subsequent drop of production capacity causing delays in shipments, price increases and not coincidentally, strong profits for hard drive manufacturers.
New information from Dynamite Data’s Kris Kubicki and Extreme Tech has revealed some rather promising developments and revealed three distinct trends. Firstly, mechanical hard drive’s dollar per gigabyte prices have returned to pre-flood levels, and secondly, that solid state drive dollar per gigabyte prices are remaining stable and thirdly that SSD storage density has significantly increased.
Before we begin, it is important to note that the data provided is averages from Dynamite Data's database that have been weighted by popularity and thus should provide a more accurate representation of the industry as a whole than using comparing a small basket of products.
The floods in July 2011 caused HDD prices to increase 72.7% from $0.055 per GB to $0.095 per GB and as indicated in the above chart, the market has since corrected for this spike by steadily reducing prices back to pre-flood levels. Since prices seem to have reached their current market equilibrium, we don’t expect to see any further price reductions in the near future unless we see the introduction of intervening technologies such as Western Digital’s Helium Hard Drives.
The data also indicates that we cannot reasonably accuse storage manufacturers of price gouging consumers in the aftermath of the flood (retailers and OEMs are a different matter entirely). Rather, it seems that the strong profits registered by manufacturers can instead be attributed to the retiring of less profitable product lines and shift towards drives with smaller, higher density storage platters.