Apple’s iCloud dominates U.S. cloud storage market with 27% market share

Apple is dominating the cloud storage wars, followed by Dropbox, Amazon and Google according to Strategy Analytics ‘Cloud Media Services’ survey.
In a recent study of almost 2,300 connected Americans, Strategy Analytics found that 27% have used Apple’s iCloud followed by 17% for Dropbox, 15% for Amazon Cloud Drive and 10% for Google Play.

Usage of cloud storage is heavily skewed towards younger people, in particular 20-24 year olds, whilst Apple’s service is the only one with more female than male users. Amongst the big four, Google’s is the one most heavily skewed towards males.

Cloud storage is overwhelmingly dominated by music; around 90% of Apple, Amazon and Google’s cloud users store music. Even Dropbox – which has no associated content ecosystem – sees around 45% 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.

Strategy Analytics: U.S. usage of major cloud storage services

“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 device, a feature both Amazon and Apple charge annual subscriptions for,” observes Ed Barton, Strategy Analytics’ Director of Digital Media, 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 4% of Americans – increase market share.”

Barton continues, “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. Dropbox being used by 1 in 6 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.”

Strategy Analytics found that, the big four cloud storage services aside, recognition of other brands was uniformly low. Furthermore 55% of connected Americans have never used a cloud storage service – although, amongst consumers who have used one, one third (33%) 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,” suggests Barton. “Given the size of 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?”

Barton concludes, “Although cloud storage is fast becoming a key pillar of digital platform strategies for the world’s leading device manufacturers and digital content distributors, there’s still a lot of work to do in educating consumers – particularly those over 45. With over half of consumers yet to use any consumer cloud based service, 2013 predictions for the ‘year of the cloud’ seem unrealistic. However given the market influence of the leading players pushing the concept, in particular Apple, Amazon, Google and Ultraviolet, I won’t be surprised to see mainstream adoption and usage spike within the next two to three years in the key US market.”

Source:: Strategy Analytics

[Attribution: ZDNet via Engadget. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. iCloud is by far the worst of all these services. It’s completely useless to me. Until Apple lets other developers write to its API, iCloud will only be a shadow of what cloud computing is meant to be. It’s the only service that doesn’t let me store the documents I need in the cloud. Real world people can’t rely on closed cloud storage.

      1. You assume all of us Android user’s don’t use Macs. MACs freakin’ RULE!! Have since day-one. But Apple dropped the ball and Microsoft picked it up and ran with it–and Apple just sat back and nearly went the way of the dinosaurs.

        And that’s precisely what they’re doing in the Phone-space. It’s deja-vu all over again. Innovate. Stagnate. Probate.

          1. If you don’t see an eerie similarity between the market share of the Mac computer vs Windows 2 decades ago and iOS vs Android today, you clearly haven’t been paying attention.

            Apple must not repeat its past mistakes. This is why so many people are highly critical of him, and investors have abandoned ship: Cook seems not to be making any moves to avoid the same fate.

            1. Are you a troll?
              Are you merely ignorant?
              Or are you having a bad day?

              What ever’s the case, your analogy is a FAIL. Apple proved it was a mistake to license Mac OS to other companies, not the other way around. Macs were consistently superior in price and quality to comparable PCs, as has been proven and borne out many times. That the worse computer got the lion share of users was not Apple’s fault. Look toward IBM and Microsoft for clues to that tragedy.

              Essentially, all you’re doing is spewing vacuous Apple Bear bullshit into the air and expecting us to appreciate the fact that it’s raining poo on our heads. I don’t think so. 😯

  2. iTunes match is pretty solid. The main reason I started using it was to have a decent back-up of all my music. Most of it was matched too on Apple’s end, which means I could delete any crappy versions from my comp and then re-download itunes’ higher quality versions of songs.

    1. Unfortunately, if you have a 6000 CD collection in your iTunes, Match won’t work. I have 6000 CDs plus 300 audio books. I can’t even engage Match. It throws up its little hands and runs screaming into the forest. :-(.

  3. The key word to make the headline sentence true is the inclusion of “Apple”.

    Absolutely nothing else in the known universe is ever considered “dominant” when it has a 27% market share. But whip out the trump card, and it’s amazing what happens here on MDN.

    iCloud is useful only for those poor souls who don’t already have substantial collections of high fidelity music. Its practically useless as a business tool.

  4. iCloud is a an incomplete work-in-progress, but one that works very well for me as far as it goes. Apple’s pioneering and seamless Contacts, Calendar and Safari bookmarks syncing alone are gold star services for anyone with multiple iOS devices and a Mac. The availability of iTunes movie, TV and music purchases in the cloud works flawlessly — and even the extra $25 per year I pay for iTunes Match, which is an under-rated deal, is very valuable. The Mac and iOS App Stores also work very well.

    Mail needs work. It can be inconsistent and unreliable. iMessaging is excellent, but it requires tedious, manual setup steps of all your Apple ID and email addresses — on each device — to get it working and syncing accurately on all your iOS devices and v10.8 Macs. The unfinished iWork cloud services need to be completed on the Mac side and PhotoStream and photo sharing need to be beefied up, but they still show promise. I do wish the old Back To My Mac service was fully restored. And clearly, Apple should have pressed to purchase DropBox.

    Finally, while not technically a part of Apple’s cloud services, the inclusion of OS-level screen sharing through iChat/Messages or as a Remote Sharing Preferences feature, adds tremendous usability features to Mac OS, as does the ability to control Macs and AppleTV from iOS devices using Apple or third-party software.

    When you consider all this, I think Apple is doing a far better job with cloud services than people give them credit for.

    A lot of companies are developing cloud services. Cloud Backups. Adobe Apps and Revel. DropBox. Microsoft Office. Streaming music. TV. Radio. I have to tell you, people aren’t going to be able to afford them all. Something will have to give, and Apple’s integrated cloud services bundled with the hardware are one way for consumers to extract enormous value from the Apple ecosystem.

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