Consumers are baffled by the name and concept of cloud computing, according to a recent survey, even if it turns out they regularly use the technology, with a large contingent indicating they've switched to using online applications instead of their legacy equivalents.
Polling a cross-section of consumers in the United States, the NPD Group found only 22 per cent of respondents knew of the term cloud computing. However, the research also found that just over three quarters of respondents - or 76 per cent - had used some sort of internet-based application in the 12 months leading up to the survey.
"Whether they understand the terminology or not, consumers are actually pretty savvy in their use of cloud-based applications," Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis for NPD, said. "They might not always recognize they are performing activities in the cloud, yet they still rely on and use those services extensively.
"Even so, they are not yet ready to completely give up on traditional PC-based software applications."
NPD found web-hosted email to be the biggest hit among general consumers, with 84 per cent of cloud-savvy respondents and 68 per cent of non-savvy takers of the survey checking their in-boxes online.
Messages dwarfed other areas such as gaming and photo and video sharing, which hovered at around 40 per cent for the savvy and 30 per cent for those who weren't in the know.
The NPD Group carried out the survey in May 2011, interviewing a sample of 1,822 adults from the US.
Written by Jason Morton