Consumers aren’t using cloud storage services in very large numbers, even as nearly every Internet user is on the cloud in some way.
Almost 90% of U.S. broadband users polled have at least heard of “cloud storage,” according to a study from nScreenMedia.
But only 29% said they currently use it, and about half of the respondents had either never heard of cloud storage services, didn’t use them, or reported not knowing anything about them.
This is a huge opportunity for cloud service companies to build out their audiences.
In particular, usage of cloud storage services, such as iCloud, Dropbox, and Microsoft OneDrive, will soar over the next few years as more consumers come to understand the value of storing their data, files, and media online.
For now, a new report from BI Intelligence finds that no one of these services is winning out (see chart at the bottom of this post), and this may be because each offers different features. For example, Box is geared toward the enterprise market, while Google Drive and Microsoft’s OneDrive work with other Google or Microsoft services.
These services appeal particularly to users already on the respective platforms who would like to have all of their data and files synced seamlessly. For the companies, the cloud is a means of keeping users within their ecosystem of products.
Here are the key points from the report about how consumers are using the cloud:
- Usage of services that employ cloud computing is already a mature mass market. Approximately 90% of global internet users are already on the cloud, and that number will remain steady as internet usage spreads globally.
- 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.
- 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.
In full, the report:
- Forecasts the total audience for cloud computing services over the next five years.
- Quantifies the amount of global traffic to the cloud from desktop and mobile devices.
- Compares consumer cloud awareness to current consumer adoption and usage rates.
- Surveys the opportunity for cloud-based service companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and Dropbox.
- Analyses which cloud-based service companies are leading the space.
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