Tag Archives: Cloud-based Storage

Clouds Forming (TUPdate)

Clouds Forming – A TUPdate by Dan Ness, April 13, 2017

The terms “free” and “unlimited” continue to entice consumers and employees alike, in offers of faster bandwidth to larger data storage. The promise of enormous, convenient, and always-available storage space is helping Google, Apple, and Microsoft attract and retain customers within their fold. It’s also helping Amazon and the many other dedicated Cloud Storage/Sharing services, even while many offerings may be risking consumer and corporate security and privacy.

Cloud Storage and Sharing services have tapped into core needs, reaching a high share of American adult consumers and employees. We Americans like our stuff, and we love convenience. As surely as we pile clutter into garages and self-storage facilities, we accumulate countless zettabytes of images, music, movies, pre-binged TV episodes, documents, among other files. We also want to know our stuff is safe and can be easily retrieved whenever and wherever we want it.

Employed adults are especially strong users of Cloud Storage and Sharing services. Sixty-nine percent of employees actively use Cloud Storage/Sharing services, and their use is not restricted to personal files and documents. Almost half (47%) of employees back up work files/documents online and 43% use cloud Storage/Sharing services for work files. Employees love the convenience of ready access, even while their employers may have policies and guidelines to protect and restrict the use of corporate files on personal devices or offsite.

Employers have mixed feelings about consumer-class Cloud Storage/Sharing services, while employees have charged ahead. About 15 years ago, I was moderating some focus group with IT Managers. We were measuring their responses to a unique device to back up files on their employee’s mobile PCs. It was almost funny to hear their inner conflicts. At first, the IT managers strongly stated that user files were essential to their employer and job, so must be backed up. They shared horror stories of execs having lost critical files, often at early morning hours in distant locations. Later in the discussion, however, these same IT managers claimed they didn’t have the time or budget to create backups of anything not on their managed servers. In a classic case of cognitive dissonance, they failed to recognize a strong need in their organization, or see any reasonable solution.

Operating System Domination

Dominating technology markets requires an ever-expanding footprint. No longer limited to having one’s customers use the same brand or operating systems family across one device type, tech market dominance requires customers to adopt ecosystems and offerings spanning devices, software, services, media.

Cloud Storage/Sharing is proving to be one way to build dominance. There is a strong association between the number of devices with a given operating system family and the primary operating system of the device primarily used for Cloud Storage/Sharing activities.

Connected Adults using an Apple OS device (iOS, MacOS) as their primary Cloud Storage/Sharing device use the largest number of Apple devices. With an average (mean) number of 2.9, this is more than three times the number of these user’s number of Windows devices and nearly six times as many Google devices used for any activities.

There’s a similarly positive, although weaker, relationship for Windows and Google devices. Users mostly choosing a Google OS (Android, Chrome) device for Cloud Storage/Sharing activities have a higher average number of Google devices than Windows or Apple devices. Users primarily using Windows OS devices for Cloud Storage/Sharing use more Windows than Google or Apple devices.

Device Types

Across all types of consumers – employed or not – 58% of Connected Adults use any of their devices for Cloud Storage/Sharing services. Home PCs are the most popular device, used for these services by 39% of Connected Adults.

Smartphones and Tablets are the 2nd and 3rd most-used devices. Cloud Storage/Sharing services help users get access to files on devices which don’t have any removable memory, including access to a USB flash drive or hard disk, and an effective substitute for files attached to emails.

The broadest users, those who use the largest number of Cloud Storage/Sharing activities, use the services at nearly the same levels across each of their many devices. Nearly twice as many use their Home PC for 4 or more Cloud Storage/Sharing activities than only use 1-3 activities, 25% to 13%, respectively. Similarly, the broadest users are the majority of users for those using Smartphones, Tablets, or Work PCs.

Key Activities

Of the most common Cloud Storage/Sharing activities, backing up personal files is the most widely used activity. Forty-three percent of Connected Adults regularly do this.

It’s hard to beat the convenience of an Internet-connected backup. Removable hard drives and USB flash drives are also easy to use, yet can be misplaced, fail, or not be at hand when wanted. Each of these offer the benefit of physical security, unlike data which is stored offsite. However, most nontechnical users don’t feel the need for heightened security and rely on the security methods of their cloud storage companies.

Cloud services also offer unlimited size, depending on the service and subscription. This makes it easier for users to enjoy the services as convenient places to access their files from their various devices and locations.

Although many Cloud Storage/Sharing services are consumer-class, and may not be sanctioned by the user’s employer, using them for work files is a widespread activity. Backing up work files/documents online is regularly done by one-third (34%) of Connected Adults, and in turn by 69% of employed or self-employed adults.

Activities by Device

Home PCs have the highest share of users across all types of cloud storage/sharing activities. Smartphones being used for Cloud Storage/Sharing of personal files, at 18% of Connected Adults, is only slightly behind the number who use Home PCs for this. The same activity is the leading one for Tablets. For users of work PCs, the top activities are for work files and documents, and less so for personal ones.

Key Users of Cloud Storage/Sharing Activities

There are 74 million most-active Cloud Storage Sharing users, who regularly do 4 or more activities. They have some unique characteristics.

Employees in several industries stand out with usage rates of double or nearly-double the national usage rate of 34% of Connected Adults. Within the Construction Industry, usage includes 72% of Connected Adults. This makes sense when you consider that each step from design through building can benefit from quick mobile access to plans, images, and materials.

Three key employee roles stand out as being especially strong in their usage levels. IT/IS, Executives, and Specialists all have 60% or more of their numbers actively using a broad set of these activities.

Demographically, younger males (age 25-44) have usage rates of 62% or higher. Older millennials of any gender also have high usage – 59%.

In contrast, there are several segments where there are a small number of hardy users, outnumbered by their contemporaries. For example, among older adults and retirees, while there are very active users, their usage levels range from 4% for the Silent+Greatest Generation (age 71+) to Baby Boomers (age 52-61) at 14%.

Looking ahead

Human needs do not change quickly. Technology offerings change much faster, in efforts to meet those needs. I don’t expect consumers to suddenly tidy up their collections of unwanted files. Similarly, I don’t expect employees to suddenly fall into compliance with their employer’s guidelines and restrictions for Cloud Storage/Sharing services.

Instead, I expect consumers to continue to amass their collections of digital items, chasing ever-larger spaces. This, in turn, will continue to pressure demand for ever-faster transfer speeds and data plans to be able to maintain ready access to their collections.

Despite privacy and employer’s compliance and security concerns, the majority of consumers and employees will continue to expand their usage and reliance on Cloud Storage/Sharing services. Independent pure play services such as Box and Dropbox are likely to feel the squeeze of market concentration that comes as major players broaden their offerings to deepen their customer footprint. The pressure will come from many directions – device manufacturers, software developers, ISPs, Telcos, and media conglomerates. While these variously compete or cooperate to gain control over consumer’s files and data, consumers themselves will continue their amassing and accumulation.

The days of personal data are growing fewer. That which is offline and stored locally is destined for the junk heap, or at least the garage or storage facility.

About this TUPdate

This TUPdate includes a complimentary brief summary of recent MetaFacts TUP (Technology User Profile) research results. These results are based on the most-recent results of the MetaFacts Technology User Profile 2016 survey, its 34th wave, with 7,334 respondents (US). For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to TUP, please contact MetaFacts.


Current TUP subscribers can tap into any of the following TUP information used for this analysis or for even deeper analysis.
This TUPdate was based on results in the TUP Activities Chapter.


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Filed under Cloud Storage, Market Research, Mobile Phones, Notebooks, Operating systems, Smartphones, Tablets, TUP 2016, TUPdate, Usage Patterns

What are the primary devices used for each category of activity? (MetaFAQs)

Smartphones are now the dominant device, although only slightly. In active use by 65% of Connected Adults, Tower Desktop PCs have effectively equal penetration at 64%. Notebook PCs aren’t far behind at 53%.

Interestingly, Smartphones are only the primary device for one type of activity – Communication. Even though Communication activities of one kind or another are being use by effectively all (99%) Connected Adults, it’s the only category of activities for which the Smartphone is the preferred device. For nearly every other type of activity, Tower Desktop PCs are the preferred device.

Among adults that use any Connected Device for Communication activities, 31% prefer to use a Smartphone, 12% prefer to use a Tower Desktop PC, and 6% prefer to use a Notebook PC. Communication activities includes voice calls, video calls, emails, chats and other forms.

Activities by Device - from Technology User Profile

Activities by Device – from Technology User Profile


These results are based on the most recent wave of Technology User Profile, the TUP 2014 edition. More can be found in the Activities chapter. The large-scale survey is in its 32nd continuous year, documenting and detailing the full scope of technology adoption and use.
For this MetaFAQs analysis, MetaFacts is sharing a portion of the answers to selected survey questions: specifically the Connected Devices in active use, and the types of activities each one is used for. The full TUP service includes further related details on the types and brands of devices, profiles of those who use Smartphones more than PCs and vice versa, detailed activities within each category and mapped to each device, and much more. The TUP survey gathers comprehensive details about the active usage of many consumer electronics products, including Printers, PC, Smartphones, Basic cell phones, and many other connected devices.

In addition to tracking activities, Technology User Profile details the many devices which online adults use to regularly connect to the Internet. The survey-based research details what people do with their devices, where they spend their technology dollars, and how often they update (or don’t update) their technology products.

Technology companies who want to know more about technology adoption, wireless technology, or about their current or future customers can contact MetaFacts to learn how to subscribe to the rich resources of Technology User Profile.

MetaFAQs – Frequently Asked Questions with answers supported by the facts: the MetaFacts.

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Filed under Behaviors and Activities, Consumer research, MetaFAQs, TUP 2014

Amazon Cloud Drive may rain on Apple while lightening load for consumers

Early Adopter

Today, Amazon announced the Amazon Cloud Drive and Amazon Cloud Player for Web. This game-changing move will likely bring a boost to the decades-old online file storage services. It may even have the effect of reining in music listeners who may have strayed, since the player will evidently only support purchased songs.

We took a quick look into the MetaFacts Technology User Profile research and discovered several challenges ahead for Amazon and others planning to follow suit, as well as some elements that show Amazon is in the right place at the right time with the right offering.

First of all, more Amazon shoppers alread use online cloud storage than non-shoppers. This means these consumers may be predisposed to cloud-based storage which is an advantage for Amazon. However, if the consumers currently using cloud storage are focused more on file backup and file/folder synchronization services, these don’t appear to be in Amazon’s initial offering.

Also, more Amazon shoppers use a portable MP3 player than online onsumers who don’t regularly shop on Amazon. While Apple’s iPod has the highest share among MP3 players, it’s share isn’t markedly different among Amazon’s shoppers than non-shoppers

In fact, Amazon’s shoppers are already active music-listeners, being well above average in music downloading and listening to streaming audio.

They are also more active using social networks, as well as sharing photos and videos through networks like Facebook, or through sites like HP Snapfish.

Meanwhile, among users of cloud storage services, Apple’s footprint is substantially higher than among non-cloud users. Further, users of cloud storage skew younger than Amazon’s current clientele. This could have the effect of drawing in younger customers to Amazon’s customer base, or may be ignored by Amazon’s relatively older and less cloud-savvy customers.

Cloud storage users have a higher share of Smartphone use than non-users, with higher shares for use of RIM Blackberry, Windows Phone, Apple iPhones and Android Smartphones.

Because most consumers may not know that Amazon has supported back-end cloud storage for many other technology firms, consumers are likely to raise concerns about Amazon’s experience and security capabilities.

Interested tech marketers and researchers may contact MetaFacts for licensing information.


The results in this TUPdate are drawn from the MetaFacts Technology User Profile Survey. Results specific to this topic can be obtained through customized report. Also, you may obtain the related MetaFacts Technology User Profile Overview Edition Report, which covers the broader range of key trends, by contacting MetaFacts. View findings in 25 pages of executive summary analysis, 200+ pages of charts and graphs, all supported by 95+ pages of detailed tables. The complete, 300+ page report is delivered to you electronically. This edition is for the U.S. based on the 2010 wave of Technology User Profile gathered among a scrupulously selected set of representative respondents, surveyed both online and offline.

To see other research coverage of Internet products and activities – from smartphones to feature phones, desktops to notebooks, social networking, demographics, and attitudes – see the many other questions TUP answers on www.technologyuser.com. Tech market research professionals who want a solid resource they can use immediately after industry events such as mergers, or even use prior to anticipated events, can license direct access to TUP.

About TUPdates

MetaFacts releases ongoing research on the market shifts and profiles for Smartphones, Netbooks, Mobile PCs, Workplace PCs, Home PCs, Web Creators, Broadband, and many other technology industry trends and facts. These TUPdates are short analytical articles in a series of specific topics utilizing the Technology User Profile Annual Edition study, which reveals the changing patterns of technology adoption around the world. Interested technology professionals can sign up at https://technologyuser.com/contact/ for complimentary TUPdates – periodic snapshots of technology markets.

About MetaFacts

MetaFacts, Inc. is a market research firm focusing exclusively on the technology industries. MetaFacts’ Technology User Profile (TUP) survey is the longest-running, large-scale comprehensive study of its kind, conducted continuously since 1983, the year before Apple released the Apple Macintosh. The detailed results are a primary market sizing and segmentation resource for leading companies providing consumer-oriented technology products and services, such as PCs, printers, software applications, peripherals, consumer electronics, mobile computing, and related services and products. TUP analyzes key trends and the data-rich source can be dived into more deeply for custom analysis. For more information about the syndicated research service, analysis tools, publications and datasets, contact MetaFacts at 1-760-635-4300.

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Filed under Consumer research, Market Research, TUP 2010, TUPdate

Sneakernet lives – Carrying mobile information beyond the notebook

Sneakernet lives! Despite growing alternatives such as cloud-based storage and online apps, many busy mobile users continue to carry their key data with them.

Other products have to do with the busy user’s information – USB flash drives, other removable memory, memory card readers, and drives that can read and burn CDs or DVDs. After all, since these busy users mostly use more than one computer, having their information physically with them can be important for continuity & convenience as well as security.

MetaFacts expects continuing growth in cloud-based storage, although slow growth for explicit usage. Key deterrents include security and privacy concerns, particularly for users employed in larger enterprises. Also, in an industry in flux, consumers and business users alike have concerns about the long-term viability of any company storing their data. After all, if the company goes out of business, they might lose access without notice. Cloud-based storage as a background service, such as storage of information for web-based applications from online apps are likely to lead to usage higher than what consumers perceive as storage. They mostly think of file, document, and photo storage and backup when they report about their use of online backup and storage.


This information is released from the Busy Mobiles Profile Report, a Technology User Profile solution from MetaFacts. It is based on recent survey-based research, reporting directly from a representative sample of actual users. The Busy Mobiles Profile Report is available for immediate purchase through the online store at the MetaFacts website – MetaFacts.com.

News flash: even more recent updates to this information are available to subscribers to the full Technology User Profile service, the TUP Overview Report, and other TUP Profile Reports.

Other findings in the MetaFacts Busy Mobiles Profile Report include:

  • How many busy Mobiles?
  • Who are these busy users?
  • The Most Busy Mobile PC Users are in Certain Occupations
  • What keeps the busiest so busy?
  • Who Owns the Busiest Mobile PCs?
  • What are the Attitudes of the Busiest?
  • What Kinds of Mobile PCs are Used the Most?
  • Locations Where the Busiest Mobile PCs are Used
  • Where the Busiest Stop to Shop
  • Electronics Used by the Busiest Mobile PC Households
  • Shopping List of the Busy Mobile PC Household

MetaFacts releases ongoing research on the market shifts and profiles for Windows Vista, Mobile PCs, Workplace PCs, Home PCs, Broadband, Digital Imaging, and many other technology industry topics. These Profile Reports are in a series on specific topics utilizing the Technology User Profile Annual Edition study, which reveals the changing patterns of technology adoption and use in American households and businesses. Interested technology professionals can sign up at http://www.metafacts.com for complimentary TUPdates, periodic snapshots of technology markets.

About MetaFacts

MetaFacts, Inc. is a national market research firm focusing exclusively on the technology industries. MetaFacts’ Technology User Profile survey is the longest-running, large-scale comprehensive study of its kind, conducted continuously since 1983, the year before Apple released the Apple Macintosh. The detailed results are widely recognized as a primary marketing resource for Fortune 1000 companies providing consumer-oriented technology products and services, such as PCs, printers, peripherals, mobile computing, and related services and products. For more information, contact MetaFacts at 1-760-635-4300 or www.metafacts.com

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Filed under Consumer research, Market Research, TUP 2008