Digital Memory Storage - Consumer Habits

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Digital Memory Storage - Consumer Habits

Consumers habits in using digital memory storage are leaning heavily towards cloud-based storage services with GoogleDrive, Facebook, and Dropbox as the most commonly used choices. Box, however, is the most highly rated in terms of satisfaction. The global data storage market is expected to continue solid growth in the coming years, due to increasing use of smartphones, external storage devices, and connected devices. The number of data-generating devices used by consumers is rising steadily with the number of smartphones expected to nearly double by 2021. Photos top the list of file types stored by consumers, followed by text and electronic presentation documents, music, videos, and ebooks.


The global consumer data storage market was valued at $14.250 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach $18.796 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 3.3%. Smartphone adoption, increasing use of eternal storage devices, and the rising number of connected devices are the driving factors in this industry's growth.

According to Statista, overall cloud storage usage in the US is at 39%. However, usage varies by age group. About 61% of those ages 18-29 use cloud storage, while 42% of those 30-59 and 18% of those 60 and older use cloud storage. Also, 24% of those 18-29 are considering using cloud storage in the future, compared to 20% of those 30-59 and 16% of the 60 and older group.


A 2016 Brigham Young University study found that the most commonly used data storage services are "Google Drive (66.2%), Facebook (65.7%), and DropBox (55.8%). YouTube (38.5%), iCloud (24.6%), and OneDrive (15.5%) had significantly fewer users." However, 85% of survey respondents said they use more than one storage service to save personal data. They like cloud storage for its automation, lack of hardware failures, easy access from different devices, and ease of file sharing.

Consumers choices for sharing files were email (86.83%), cloud URL link (63.31%), USB drive (39.22%), CD or DVD (12.32%), and other (3.36%). Email topped the list for its convenience and ubiquity.

While I found no solid usage figures for external storage devices, the aforementioned market report indicates that their increasing use is a market growth driver, indicating they are still a top choice among consumers.

Consumers are increasingly using mobile devices to capture photos, rising from 76.4% in 2015 to 85% in 2017, but they still use digital cameras to capture special events, such as weddings, though their use dropped from 18.1% in 2015 to 10.3% in 2017.

A study on the reasons consumers are willing to pay for cloud storage suggests that conformity has an effect on user's perceptions regarding the value of cloud storage. Consumers rely on recommendations from friends or other trusted sources when choosing storage options.

A survey by Clutch found that 782 million consumers use Apple's iCloud storage service, but 47% of them have little or no confidence in storing their personal data there.


According to data gathered by Cisco, there were 17.1 billion networked devices, globally, or 2.3 per capita in 2016. By 2021, it is estimated that there will be 3.5 per capita for a total of 27.1 billion devices.

In terms of the types of devices consumers use, PCs accounted for 8% in 2016 and are expected to drop to 5% by 2021. Tablets will grow in use from 580.3 million in 2016 to 749.5 million in 2021, but their overall percentage will remain at 3%. Smartphones are expected to grow from 3.6 billion (21%) in 2016 to 6.2 billion (23%) in 2021. Non-smartphones will decrease in use from 3.3 billion (19%) in 2016 to 1.5 billion (5.7%) in 2021.


While the data is slightly dated (2014) Europa cites the top file types "saved or shared by cloud users," based on the percentage of consumers using each file type, as:
• Photos: 82%
• Text, spreadsheet, or electronic presentation documents: 54%
• Music: 36%
• Videos: 26%
Ebooks: 14%

Among cloud users, 11% use a paid service while 88% use a free service.

According to InfoTrends, it was estimated that consumers would take about 1.1 trillion photos, globally, in 2016, and that number is expected to rise to 1.2 trillion in 2017. Furthermore, it was found that around 3.93 trillion digital photos were stored in hard drives or other storage devices, globally, in 2016, and that number increased by 19% in 2017.


A 2016 J.D. Power report on cloud storage satisfaction found that Box is the highest-ranked paid cloud storage provider among consumers. Microsoft OneDrive and AmazonCloud drive rank second and third, respectively.

Devices used to access cloud storage files are:
• Desktop or laptop computers: 69%
• Apple iPhones: 56%
• Apple iPads: 40%
• Android smartphones: 30%
• Android tablets: 25%
• Smart TVs: 17%


In conclusion, the data storage market is growing steadily, driven by consumer adoption of smartphones, external storage solutions, and connected devices. The cloud is the most popular data storage option with Box topping the list in terms of consumer satisfaction. Smartphones are leading the way in terms of the growing number of data-generating devices, while photos, text and electronic presentation documents, music, videos, and ebooks are the most commonly store files.