The global hard-disk drive (HDD) industry enjoyed unusually strong demand between April and the end of June, normally the weakest season for the industry, market researcher iSuppli said Wednesday.

Worldwide HDD shipments during the second quarter trumped the first quarter by nearly 3 per cent to 89.7 million units thanks to strong end-user demand for computers and consumer electronics products, according to iSuppli.

Consumer electronics drives demand

Normally, HDD shipments fall in the second quarter, but the demand increase ensured they beat the 87.3 million units shipped during the first three months of the year, the market researcher said.

The industry also overcame a shortage of HDD media, the portion of the disk upon which data is actually written and read from, to expand during the second quarter, iSuppli said.

US firms benefit

US drive makers benefitted most from the demand surge. Seagate extended its lead in the market, accounting for nearly a third of worldwide shipments during the three month period, iSuppli said.

The company made 30.5 per cent of global HDD shipments during the second quarter, up from 28.6 per cent in the first quarter. Western Digital retained its second-place ranking in HDDs during the same period, at 17.6 per cent, while Maxtor fell one place to fourth with a 13.5 per cent share of shipments, according to iSuppli.

Far East firms fare well

Japanese companies fared worse than their US rivals, but Hitachi Global Storage Technologies rose to third place with a 15.5 per cent share of global HDD shipments.

Toshiba remained in fifth place with a 7.7 per cent share of unit shipments. The company started this week shipping 1.8-inch hard drives based on new perpendicular recording technology.

Perpendicular storage technology is a new method of data storage. It allows much more data to be stored on a disk because the magnetic particles on which data is stored stand perpendicular to the disk's surface, so more of them can be packed onto the disk than in the current longitudinal recording method in which they lay flat.

Fujitsu's HDD operations placed seventh with a 6.7 per cent share of HDD unit shipments. The company does not serve the fastest growing segment of the HDD market, the consumer electronics segment.

Samsung Electronics took sixth place, with a 6.9 per cent share, up from 6.6 per cent during the first quarter.