Consumers Will Store More Than a Third of Their Digital Content in the Cloud by 2016

On-premise storage will have its Kodak moment when consumers who have been producing a lot of digital content will start embracing more of cloud services by 2016.

Only 7 % of consumer content was stored in the cloud in 2011, but this will grow to 36 percent in 2016.

Average storage per household will grow from 464 gigabytes in 2011 to 3.3 terabytes in 2016. Importantly. a shortage in supply of HDDs as a result of the floods in Thailand provided an impetus for cloud storage adoption, leading to an unusual overall growth rate between 2011 and 2012.

The increased adoption of camera-equipped smartphones and tablets is allowing users to capture huge amounts of photos and videos. Gartner predicts that worldwide consumer digital storage needs will grow from 329 exabytes in 2011 to 4.1 zettabytes in 2016. This includes digital content stored in PCs, smartphones, tablets, hard-disk drives (HDDs), network attached storage (NAS) and cloud repositories.

The bulk of the cloud storage needs of consumers in the near term will be met by social media sites such as Facebook, which offer free storage space for uploading photos and videos for social sharing.

What about cloud services?

Expect consumers to first try the basic package that is offered free by online backup companies. These services will be offered as apps on tablets, smartphones and broadband-connected TV because of partnerships between original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and online storage and sync companies. Cloud service providers (CSPs) will also increasingly offer cloud storage.

On-premise storage which had 93% share in 2011 will witness a drop to 64% by 2016* as the direct-to-cloud model becomes more mainstream.

* These are predictions by Gartner and should be taken in the right context. As usual,’s word of caution applies (read: Why and How to read reports).

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