Cloud computing is a massive market.
BI Intelligence finds that there will be roughly 2.6 billion consumers accessing the cloud in 2014. That’s almost identical to the 2.9 billion people connected to the internet worldwide. That means cloud computing services penetration is already at 89%.
While the cloud audience is mature, activity within the cloud will skyrocket over the next five years, thanks primarily to mobile. It’s precisely the ability to access and consume files and data-heavy media on multiple devices that has helped inflate cloud traffic.
- BI Intelligence estimates traffic to the cloud from mobile devices will grow at a compound annual rate of 63% between 2013 and 2018, which is significantly faster than the 22% rate for overall cloud traffic.
In a new report from BI Intelligence, we find that cloud-based apps and media, including social networks and popular music- and video-streaming, will continue to make the cloud sticky for consumers. We define the “consumer cloud” as all services where user data — including emails, posts, files, media, etc. — are stored online on servers and shared with devices upon request, rather than stored natively on the device.
Here are the key points about how consumers are using the cloud:
- Consumer cloud computing is already a mature mass market and mobile has led to explosive growth in cloud usage. Mobile consumers leverage the cloud to store and consume media, and sync their apps, files, and data across devices. We estimate traffic to the cloud from mobile devices will grow at a compound annual rate of 63% between 2013 and 2018, which is significantly faster than the 22% growth rate for overall cloud traffic.
- Yet despite so much usage, consumer awareness of cloud services remains low. Even though most online consumers use cloud-based sites and apps, survey data shows that they’re confused about cloud computing and its value in helping organise digital services.
- There are growing opportunities for wider penetration and usage for consumer cloud-based services. For example, consumer adoption of cloud storage apps, like Dropbox and Google Drive, remains low. A 2014 U.S. study found that only 29% of U.S. broadband internet users said they used cloud services to store their media and files.
- There is no clear worldwide leader in the consumer cloud space — yet. Apple’s iCloud held an early edge in markets where the iPhone is popular, but suites of cloud-based services from Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are catching up worldwide. More specialised cloud services like Dropbox and Evernote are trying to become platforms in their own right.
The report includes Excel charts that can be downloaded and put to use.
In full, the report: