TMCnet Feature
March 22, 2013

Apple Dominates the Cloud Storage Market; Dropbox, Amazon Follow

By Erin Harrison, Executive Editor, Cloud Computing

With music being a key area of cloud storage domination, Apple is leading the cloud storage market, followed closely by Dropbox (News - Alert), Amazon and Google, according to a Strategy Analytics survey.

In fact, 27 percent of cloud storage users have used Apple’s iCloud followed by 17 percent for Dropbox, 15 percent for Amazon Cloud Drive and 10 percent for Google (News - Alert) Drive.

Cloud storage tends to be used more by 20-to-24-year-olds who use iCloud and other storage platforms to store music files, according to Ed Barton, director of digital media at Strategy Analytics (News - Alert). Cloud storage is overwhelmingly dominated by music; in fact, around 90 percent of Apple, Amazon and Google’s cloud users store music.

“Music is currently the key battleground in the war for cloud domination. Google is tempting users by giving away free storage for 20,000 songs which can be streamed to any Android (News - Alert) device, a feature both Amazon and Apple charge annual subscriptions for,” Barton said in a statement.

 “However, the growth of video streaming and the desire to access content via a growing range of devices will see services such as the Hollywood-backed digital movie initiative Ultraviolet – currently used by four percent of Americans – increase market share.”

Apple’s (News - Alert) service is the only one with more female than male users. Among the top four, Google’s is the one most heavily skewed toward males.

Dropbox – which has no associated content ecosystem – sees around 45 percent of its users storing music files. Dropbox’s recent acquisition of Audiogalaxy will add a much needed native music player to the platform in the coming months, Barton said.

“The cloud’s role in the race to win over consumers’ digital media libraries has evolved from a value added service for digital content purchases to a feature-rich and, increasingly, device agnostic digital locker for music and movies,” he said.

“Dropbox being used by one in six Americans shows that an integrated content storefront isn’t essential to build a large user base, however, we expect competition to intensify sharply over the coming years.”

The study also revealed that, besides the big four cloud storage services, recognition of other brands was uniformly low. In addition, 55 percent of connected Americans have never used a cloud storage service – although, among consumers who have used one, one-third (33 percent) had done so in the last week.

“There needs to be considerable investment in evangelizing these services to a potentially willing yet largely oblivious audience,” Barton added. “Given the size of the bet Hollywood is making with Ultraviolet, this will be essential to their success given a crowded market and widespread apathy. However, more fundamental questions remain - is the use of more than one cloud service going to be too much for consumers to handle and will consolidation in such a fragmented market become inevitable?”

In addition to the rapidly growing consumer market, more small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are adopting cloud-based storage services to reduce cost and IT complexity compared to large enterprises, according to a separate study. The small and medium business segments are the major adopters of cloud storage services and this trend is expected to continue for next few years, according to Research and Markets.

The total cloud storage market is expected to reach $46.8 billion by 2018 with a CAGR of 40.2 percent.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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