Consumers actually really like cloud storage, report says

Consumers actually really like cloud storage, report says

Summary: It turns out that consumers, by and large, really are interested in moving as much as they can into the cloud.


Consumer cloud-based services are turning out to be one of the biggest hits of 2012, based on new report from market intelligence firm IHS iSuppli.

The number of personal subscriptions to online storage services is set to surpass previous projections. The number of subscriptions worldwide already toppled 375 million within the first half of 2012. The original forecast for the entire calendar year was just 500 million.

Subscriptions to cloud services -- free or paid -- are expected to jump even higher to 625 million globally in 2013.

But considering the pace already seen in 2012 and the growing demand for mobile ubiquity (which, in turn, depends on data stored in the cloud for anywhere access), it's quite possible that forecast could be conservative.

Jagdish Rebello, director for consumer and communications at IHS, explained further in the report that the cloud is essentially a "game changer" with the benefits it offers to both consumers and cloud service providers:

For consumers, cloud services are intended to manage and store user-generated data or purchased content, such as music, ebooks, pictures or videos. The content can then be seamlessly accessed and synced across devices like smartphones, media tablets and PCs. Meanwhile, technology companies are looking at the cloud as a way to generate revenue.

It's important to note that while this figures might seem impressive, there isn't much to compare them to from past years. That's because, as IHS researchers cited in the report, cloud storage services for consumers were "relatively new and untested" as of even just last year.

But looking forward, it's important to consider which companies are really going to see the payoff with this trend.

While IHS highlights that smaller "pure-play" cloud storage services like Dropbox and SugarSync are seeing success with freemium models with 2GB to 5GB of free space per account before charging for extra, it is the tech giants such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon to really consider.

In the long run, it's these companies that have the scalability and resources to meet both consumer and enterprise demands with the potential for undercutting prices for extra storage.

Topics: Cloud, Consumerization, Storage, Social Enterprise

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  • Consumer space is a great fit

    Possibly even more so than business. For business, some data makes sense to put out on the cloud but security concerns trump ease of access. It's just as easy these days to set up a VPN and give users remote access. For the consumer, however, security isn't always that much of a concern. Consumers will store mp3s, movie files, pdfs, etc that they want to be able to access from anywhere, like while on vacation. Setting up VPN access is well beyond the abilities of average Joe Consumer so cloud services are often their only alternative.
  • Depends on how you count

    being as basically everything needs an account these days, the question soon becomes how many are willingly and actively used, rather than 'a necessary evil that constitutes a means to an end'. To use Dropbox as a particular example...

    1.) what percentage of free accounts to they manage to monetize?
    2.) What is the amount of data/users?
    3.) What is the amount of data/users for the first two standard deviations?

    Similarly, how much data does iCloud actually store? How many accounts are considered 'iCloud' that only address the use of iTunes directly?

    having lots of accounts is an easy metric to have. Having lots of accounts that are actually being actively used and preferred to offline storage is a different metric entirely.

  • Paging P.T. Barnum

    Mr. Barnum, please call your office. A new sucker deposit has been discovered.
  • Speculators and market manipulators are cool

    Some people do like the blind convenience, but many do have many legitimate concerns...

    Most marketers seem to be overtly hyping these things... even prematurely calling things like "local storage" obsolete, without even discussing the ramifications... especially if a cloud provider goes out of business... amongst plenty of other issues, not excluding IP security... read "IP" any way you'd like...

    The PT Barnum allusion is well-made...