GfK Survey: Cloud Computing Has the Power to Enhance Consumer Data Consumption, But Obstacles Hinder Greater Short-Term Adoption

Only About One in Ten Consumers Surveyed Fully Understand the Cloud, With Security of Data The Biggest Concern


New York, NY, March 24, 2011 – As the growth of connected devices is expected to reach 22 billion within the next decade, according to IMS Research, there will be a greater need for consumers to move their data to cloud-based services. However, while nearly half of consumers are aware of the cloud, only nine percent acknowledge that they fully understand it. This is based on the results of a new GfK Business & Technology online survey of 1,000 adults presented today at the CTIA Wireless show in Orlando, FL.

Cloud computing is used to describe applications and services hosted and run on servers connected to the internet that end users do not have to maintain or support. Consumers are increasingly in need of cloud-based services with data spread across multiple devices, including laptops, cell phones and tablet computers. As 4G data networks begin to roll out over the next year, consumers will be consuming and needing to access greater amounts of data across all of their connected devices.


 "Consumers are now facing similar challenges once only faced by enterprises in needing to securely manage massive amounts of data,” said Rob Barrish, senior vice president of GfK Business & Technology. "When rolling out cloud-based services, it will be important for marketers to keep in mind that consumers want to be able to access content on all of their devices across multiple platforms.”


However, while there is a general understanding of what the cloud is, 62 percent are either not aware of the cloud or aware but do not understand it. Interest in storing data within the cloud is significantly higher in younger than in older consumers, with approximately 60 percent of users between the ages of 18-35 interested in moving their data to the cloud. In older age groups, though, that number drops significantly, with only an average of 25 percent of users over the age of 50 interested in moving their data to the cloud.


There are also concerns among consumers about moving their data to the cloud. About six in ten consumers (61 percent) surveyed by GfK say that they are concerned about the security of their content if they were to store it in the cloud. Additionally, 47 percent of consumers surveyed say they would never use the cloud unless they have a simple and easy way to store their content, while 39 percent say they are concerned about the ability to play content on different devices from the cloud.  This statistic in particular points to the need for greater compatibility and accessibility to content across devices, so that the same content purchased for one device can be accessed across multiple devices.


"Because security of the data within the cloud is the biggest concern across all age groups, marketers need to address this up front when communicating the benefits of using cloud-based apps and services,” said Barrish. "There’s also an overall need for greater education about the cloud in order to move consumers from general understanding to active utilization.”


About The Survey

The survey was conducted from March 4-6, 2011, by GfK Business & Technology, a division of GfK Custom Research North America. This online survey is based on interviews with 1,000 adults age 18 or older sampled from GfK’s national online panel. The data were weighted to match national online norms of age, sex, education, race, and region using targets provided by GfK Mediamark Research & Intelligence (GfK MRI).


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