How different cloud services are competing, pushing up usage

Consumers are already using the cloud widely, even if a lot of them don’t know it. Approximately 90% of global internet users are already on the cloud in some manner, and that number will remain steady as internet usage spreads globally.

But 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. BI Intelligence estimates traffic to the cloud from mobile devices will grow at a compound annual rate of 63% between 2013 and 2018.

Even as cloud usage is exploding, though, consumers remained confused about the cloud, and services specifically aimed at cloud storage still only reach a small share of U.S. internet users. That means companies like Dropbox and Google Drive have a big opportunity to grab users. To do so, they’re slashing prices and upping storage space.

The new report, provides an exclusive comparison of how the different cloud storage companies are stacking up in terms of pricing and offerings. We put this in the context of cloud adoption and traffic, and also look at how well consumers understand the cloud. There’s a big opportunity for cloud storage services that can help internet users understand the benefits of using the cloud, and create seamless services that allow people to easily access their files from any device.

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 organize 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 specialized 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.
  • Analyzes which cloud-based service companies are leading the space.
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