In 2021, Alphabet crossed the two billion active accounts landmark on its Google Drive service. Staggering on its own, this figure also emphasizes the state of maturity reached by cloud services in recent years, especially on the consumer side.
While relatively new, the consumer cloud storage market has grown at a tremendous pace, embracing most of the technological transformations of the last decade. In terms of deployment, consumer cloud storage services followed the multiplication of smartphone shipments and access to high-speed broadband services across the globe.
Over the last decade, the market also experienced similar adoption rates across North America and Europe. In Western countries, the number of active consumer cloud storage solutions can nowadays exceed several times the population, highlighting the wide adoption of these services and their diversification.
In Asia-Pacific, if the state of cloud maturity currently remains lower overall, the region is however driven by three very dynamic markets: Japan, South Korea, and China. The multiplication of partnerships between tech giants and local companies in China, India, Indonesia, and numerous south-east Asian countries in the last three years is expected to provide significant business opportunities in the next few years, following the adoption of 5G, and the democratization of fiber internet.
The cloud storage industry has managed to quickly evolve from a simple market dedicated to data storage only to a very diverse one, providing infrastructure over the cloud, servers, computing capabilities, applications management and deployment, or shared services for individuals and businesses, over a wide range of business models.
If historically B2B solutions have been driving the vast majority of the revenues in the cloud industry, consumer cloud storage solutions usage has skyrocketed in the last six years, especially since COVID-19. Hence B2C is now outpacing B2B in terms of growth rates. Consumer cloud storage solutions are now specialized around a few differentiating factors.
First of all, they are split between mobile solutions and more device-agnostic solutions - with a strong desktop component. The former solutions are mainly provided by smartphone manufacturers like Apple, or operators such as China Mobile, while the latter ones are mainly developed by technological providers. Storage-only solutions remain available, for specific content such as photos and videos. Still, most services tend to address a wider number of features, from cybersecurity to IoT, while also providing hybrid solutions for both personal and business usage.
This diversification of services has proven to be necessary for actors to remain relevant, while the market has become increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few numbers of tech giants on the consumer side. Hence, despite double-digit growth rates year on year, some major actors shut down, such as Samsung Cloud's consumer solution in June 2021. Similarly, telecom operators have faced increasing difficulties competing with actors like Apple, partially due to the close proximity observed between their offers, and their delayed entrance into the market.
The cloud storage market is expected to triple by 2030, mainly driven by the fast expansion across the Asia Pacific.
Dataxis just released a new module dedicated to consumer cloud storage services, providing revenue and user data by country, with worldwide coverage, and a specific focus on operators' cloud storage offers for the consumers.
Thibault Giry | Senior Analyst at Dataxis
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