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Insights on the Consumer Cloud

May 13th, 2016

Creative Strategies recently completed a study on consumer cloud services and US consumers. One of our goals was understanding the role the cloud plays today in consumers’ lives and our hope is to tease out insights from our research as to what role the cloud will play in their lives in the future.

Cloud services are talked about within a broad range of definitions. One of the things we wanted to understand was what consumers understand or think when we use this ambiguous term “the cloud.”

We presented consumers with a range of definitions and asked them to select the definition they felt best defined the cloud, according to their understanding. An overwhelming majority of 63% stated that, “A place on the internet to store my documents, pictures, music, and more” best articulated their understanding of the cloud. Encouragingly, only 13% selected the option, “I still have no idea how to define the cloud.” Only 3% said the definition of cloud is, “a service that lives on the internet like Netflix or Spotify.”

Consumers correlate cloud to file storage and media. Cloud. to consumers. is basically a hard drive on the internet. This can be good or bad depending on what you are selling, where you believe cloud services go in the future, and what barriers to adopting new cloud services will be going forward.

Also, more consumers than I thought going in use a cloud service of some kind. A cloud service is used in some way, shape, or form by 55% of consumers in our panel. But, when we drill down into how many pay for that service, 76% do not pay for their cloud services. Not surprisingly, the thing most consumers say they use the cloud for is storing pictures.

Among several things that jumped out to us in our study was how many consumers willingly admit they trust the cloud. A whopping 91% said they trusted their cloud provider. There were caveats we unpacked, however, specifically around things like security, privacy, and data protection. While many trusted their cloud provider, they admitted to some overall existing concerns. So even though they trusted their cloud service, they still did not fully embrace all the cloud has to offer.

We believe we captured some key insights into what the barriers to full adoption are with mainstream consumers and have a few conclusions from the data to recommend to our clients on how best to drive cloud adoption. We have a set of conclusions to share with our clients not only on how to drive cloud adoption but also on the effects the current consumer understanding has on other service and devices usage.

Topics covered in this study:
Overall cloud usage
Primary use cases and frequency with cloud services
Main companies consumers trust for cloud services
Specific cloud services used
Specific cloud service paid for
Barriers to cloud adoption
Drivers and motivation to use and pay for cloud services in the future
Recommendations from our team on ways to best drive cloud services adoption for consumers

Ben Bajarin

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Ben Bajarin is responsible for Creative Strategies research and analysis focusing on worldwide consumer market for consumer technology. He studies and analyzes trends globally for the markets likePC, smartphone, tablet, digital home, wearables, and Internet of things, among many others.

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