Sales of external HDDs last year fell 17 per cent to 21.5m units across EMEA and a massive 36 per cent to 1.98m units in the UK, according to Futuresource Consulting analysis.
The market researcher's latest quarterly EMEA HDD tracker saw a difficult first half contribute to annual volume declines across the region, although year-on-year trends were positive in most individual nations, such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
Mats Larsson, senior market analyst at Futuresource, said the decline was also linked to the 2011 Thai floods, which created supply problems and price hikes in HDD.
"The second half of 2012 showed minimal signs of positive growth, with prices still higher than over a year ago. Some have suggested that many retailers gained bargaining power as they held back on HDD purchases in the hope that distributors would drop their prices, allowing other substitute storage solutions to come into play," he wrote.
"Others argue that alternative technologies – such as the strong growth in tablets as well as cloud storage – affected external HDD demand. Futuresource research shows that it is a mixture of the two."
Strong growth in sales of other technologies, such as tablets and cloud storage, would continue to affect future HDD sales, Larsson added.
And although most individual nations out of the group of 17 EMEA countries analysed enjoyed rising HDD sales, these were small in unit terms and countered by the much larger declines in, for example, the UK.
In OEM terms, the overall winner in HDD was Toshiba, which saw its market share expand 200 per cent across EMEA. The Japanese vendor now takes almost half of all sales in Germany, for example, Futuresource said.
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