Data Storage Media: Materials, Technologies, Markets

Published - Jun 2005| Analyst - Mindy Rittner| Code - IFT054A
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Report Highlights

  • The combined market for magnetic and optical storage materials, estimated at $19.8 billion in 2005, is expected to rise to $39.9 billion in 2010, at an AAGR of 15.1%.
  • The optical storage media market is expected to increase much faster than the market for magnetic storage over the next five years, i.e., at an AAGR of 19.8% vs. 4.8%.
  • At these growth rates, optical storage media are expected to increase their share of the data storage market from 58% in 2004 to 77% in 2010.
  • Emerging optical storage media such as Blu-ray and HD-DVD, holographic and near-field storage currently are not a significant factor but, by 2010, are expected to account for as much as 4% of the market.


Information storage products are undergoing constant change. Computer hard disks have shrunk in size, from two feet in diameter in the mid-1950s to a few inches or less today, while holding ever-larger amounts of data. Data tape reels have been replaced by compact cartridges of half-inch tape. Thirty years ago, eight-track tapes gave way to audio cassette tapes, and compact discs are edging out cassette tapes and floppy disks. Higher capacity digital versatile discs have since emerged, while hard disk and recording head technology continues to evolve, making hard disk drives a somewhat unique mainstay. Newer technologies continue to be developed to take storage capacity and speed to the next level. Megabytes have given way to gigabytes. Terabytes are not far behind.

These changes in storage technology and capacity have mandated changes in media materials. Materials critical for one type of storage product may be unsuitable for the next generation. Particles, thin film structures, and even substrates have changed as magnetic and optical storage products evolve with new generations of products. Smaller, thinner, more complex and more precise could well be the mantra of producers of information storage media and devices.

This report covers the gamut of current and emerging magnetic and optical storage media, including magnetic recording tapes, hard disk media and recording heads, optical disks and emerging storage technologies, including new optical disk formats, holographic recording, near-field recording, as well as the materials required to produce these media and devices.


The report contains:

  • An overview of magnetic and optical data storage technology, devices and materials
  • Detailed information about the structure and material components of hard disk media and recording heads, magnetic recording tapes, compact discs (CDs), digital versatile discs (DVDs), and emerging data storage media
  • A summary of recent technological advancements and market developments in the industry
  • A concise analysis of trends in storage-related patents over the past five years
  • Identification of key producers of data storage media and materials
  • Analysis of technology and market trends affecting demand for data storage media and materials
  • Market forecasts through 2010.


The information and analyses contained in this document are based on both primary and secondary sources of information, including email and phone contacts with numerous industry participants. Other sources of information include the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office online database, annual reports and other SEC filings, company press releases and Web sites, scientific and trade publications, and BCC reports and newsletters. The assumptions behind the market estimates and forecasts are explained in the text, and constant dollars are used.


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