Storage needs of smartphone users in India and challenges faced by them with regard to storage and transfer of data from smartphones

Western Digital released the results of a consumer survey on the ‘Storage needs of smartphone users in India and challenges faced by them with regard to storage and transfer of data from smartphones,’conducted by Access Media International for SanDisk brand. The objective of the storage survey by Western Digital Corporation in India is to ascertain the evolving storage needs of smartphone users in India and decode the various storage challenges they face today. The survey was conducted with 1458 smartphone users across 14 cities between April to May, 2016.

Today, the digital consumer is generating more content than ever before in the form of images and videos, and with the mammoth increase in the rate of content creation, data consumption and sharing, ‘insufficient memory’ is one of the key concerns of the smartphone users today. As per the survey, at least 60 percent of smartphone users run out of memory every week and they end up deleting apps and content to free up phone memory.

Addressing the current needs, AMI conducted a study sponsored by Western Digital, to deep dive into the challenges faced by a consumer while storing, transferring and sharing content across platforms, performance issues with smartphones, growing storage needs of digital consumers today and awareness around storage solutions available.

Commenting on the survey findings, Rajesh Gupta, Country Manager of SanDisk India and SAARC Retail Sales and Marketing, Western Digital Corporation,said, “With the growing amount of data that is being generated today, lack of adequate storage is a key challenge for the digital consumers. And the rising inclination of consumers towards technology is bound to increase demand for storage devices that will append the phone storage and content transfer seamlessly from one device to another. We are committed to delivering innovative storage solutions and we believe that our line of mobile storage offerings can help consumers free up storage space, allowing them to take control of their content anytime, anywhere.”

Additionally, Western Digital has recently launched an upgraded line-up of SanDisk Mobile Memory Solutions (MMS) suite which gives consumers the luxury of capturing, sharing and saving loads of data speedily across multiple devices and operating systems, without worrying about storage limitations. This includes the new 256GB SanDisk Ultra microSDXC UHS-I card and the SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive m3.0. The unique storage devices, backed by SanDisk’s ground-breaking flash technology have been engineered to offer a seamless user experience while storing or transferring content, in an intuitive and secure way.

Key findings of the survey:

Smartphone consumption habits:

  • Today smartphones seem to have replaced computers and have emerged as the primary device for content consumption, creation and sharing. Around 84 percent of users spend more than four hours on smartphone applications every day.
  • Apps account for a large footprint of internal storage and is on a steady rise. Around 88 percent of the respondents have more than 10 apps on their smartphones.
  • Downloading content and storing it on smartphones is a common habit in India. Widely used applications listed in order of priority:
  • Social media (including Facebook and WhatsApp)
  • Downloading videos/music
  • Utility apps
  • Phone camera
  • Video and music streaming
  • These days’ consumers are creating and sharing data like never before. Around 60 percent of users share more than 10MB of data on a daily basis, out of which videos account for maximum file size transfer followed by photos and music.
    • Around 30 percent share maximum number of photos on a daily basis, closely followed by audio files at approximately 29 percent.
    • Video based consumption is growing at an alarming stage and is driving high storage needs at approximately 24 percent and messages at around 17 percent.
  • Majority of smartphone users constantly face challenge with regards to low storage space which clearly shows that majority of people are using smartphones with low internal storage. Around 65 percent of users are using smartphones with less than 16GB of internal capacity. 
  • The Internet is a popular mode of sharing content due to its ease of accessibility and convenience on smartphones. Around 90 percent of users use the Internet as the primary mode of sharing content. The other regular options used by consumers for transferring content include – Bluetooth (60 percent) and data cable (52 percent).
  • There is a massive increase in the rate of data consumption, creation and sharing by the digital consumers and this is only going to grow further.
    • Over 90percent of users expect time spent on smart phones usage to increase by 20-60 percent within 6 months to a year.
    • Over 67 percent expect an increase between 60 – 80 percent in content quality (Full HD, 4K. etc.) on mobile phones within 6 months to a year. This indicates there is a need for high capacity mobile storage solutions.
    • The requirement for expandable internal capacity will be very high in the coming years. Approximately. 80 percent expect increase in data usage, out of which 77 percent expect an increase between 40 – 60 percent in data usage within 6 months to a year.

Challenges faced by smartphone users:

  • Consumers are not only capturing content, but also storing and sharing content at a rapid speed, which eventually results in low storage issues.
    • Out of the total respondents, approximately. 52 percent of the users run out of storage every week
      • 1 out of 3 users run out of memory every day
  • Consumers are facing multiple challenges with regards to smartphones performance, which eventually leads to storage issues. As a solution consumers end up deleting content/ uninstall apps. Consumers rank lack of adequate internal as one of the top two issues related to smartphone performance. Top three issues:
    • Bandwidth
    • Lack of adequate internal memory
    • Battery drainage
  • Consumers are not comfortable transferring apps, personal audio and video files, and contacts from one phone to another when they replace their old smartphones. They don’t seem to be aware of simple solutions available for them.
  • First action done by consumers is to delete unwanted data/ content from their phone memory. The study reveals that deleting apps and content is the most popular way to free up memory followed by data backup on external devices.


The study was conducted on behalf of Western Digital Corporation for SanDisk brand by Access Media International, a globally integrated strategic insights consulting firm. This survey was conducted with 1458 smart phone users across 14 top cities including 5 metros and 9 Tier I cities. Majority of the respondents who took the survey fall under the 26-35 age bracket, including young working professionals and entrepreneurs having smartphone ownership. It predominantly covered Android smartphone users (52 percent), followed by iOS (19 percent), Windows (17 percent) and small percentage of Blackberry (12 percent) users too. News Service

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