The worldwide personal and entry-level storage (PELS) market was up by 4.8% year over year with almost 19 million units shipped in the third quarter of 2014 (3Q14), according to IDC ( Shipment values declined -0.3% year over year to US$1.6 billion, according to the research group.

“The personal and entry-level storage market showed strong shipment growth in the third quarter of 2014 with 18.8 million units shipped,” says Jingwen Li, research analyst, Storage Systems, IDC. “Both the personal and entry-level portion of the market contributed to this growth. The personal storage segment saw good growth in the higher capacity portable devices as well as personal cloud devices.”

He adds that, with the former, consumers are looking for ways to expand their storage and backup options beyond their laptops, while the latter, along with mobile devices, address the storage and file sharing needs of an entire household. The entry-level segment saw strong growth in higher bay products (6-12 bays) as vendors introduce higher capacity offerings with more enterprise level features at a more SMB-friendly cost.
HDD vendors continued to increase their share in PELS units shipped, gaining 1.5 percentage points year over year to grow to 78.7% market share. Although the entry-level storage market continued to be dominated by the mainstream non-HDD vendors, with 50.6% unit shipment market share, their market share continued to shrink by 14.5 points year over year.

The 3.5-inch form factor experienced a decline of -7.1% year over year in units shipped, while the 2.5-inch form factor saw units shipped up 8% year over year. The more portable 2.5-inch form factor continued to encroach into the market space of the 3.5-inch form factor, with 3.5-inch losing 2.4 percentage points of unit market share year over year in 3Q14.

End users continue to migrate to higher capacity points to meet their storage needs. In the 3.5-inch personal storage market, 2 terabyte (TB) devices represented 41.6% of unit shipments in the quarter. For the 2.5″-inch personal storage market, 1TB devices captured 60.7% market share. For the entry-level market, capacity ranges are more varied due to multiple bays and vendors’ ability to partially populate devices. However, 4TB devices hold the most market share with 23.4% of units shipped.

USB continued to be the interface of choice for the PELS market. Its units shipped were up by 4.7% year over year this quarter. Ethernet remained the interface of choice for the entry-level market, capturing 94.8% of market share. Thunderbolt continued to ramp up, posting a year-over-year shipment growth rate of 7.3%, albeit off a very small base.