New Global Data: American online users struggle with handling their digital photos

• More than half of those surveyed have storage problems because of saved photos on their smartphones
• One third have lost the overview of their photos
• One out of five feel pressured to keep photo albums organized
• Over 40 percent use a cloud-based platform to save their photos
• Americans share the most amount of photos on social media networks compared to other countries

A trip to the beach, a family event or a new trick the dog learned: whatever the occasion, taking pictures to capture every day memories has become a common practice. The evolution of mobile devices provides consumers with a quick and easy way to capture photos; however, it also results in a higher amount of photos saved on these devices.

A recent survey in partnership with Opinion Matters, polled Internet users in the U.S., Great Britain, Spain, France and Germany to see how they are storing digital photos and what kinds of photos they prefer to save. The survey found that consumers in the U.S. struggle with storage issues as a result of managing digital photos, with some admitting they often have to decide which photos they want to save and which they want to delete. However, while some are hitting the delete button as a solution to storage problems, the same survey found that more than 40 percent of American users rely on a cloud-based service to save their memories.

Many users face data loss

The survey also found that more than one quarter of American users have lost their digital photos due to a broken or lost device, and nearly half admitted to accidentally deleting photos. Despite the issues that many users face with saving and accessing photos on their mobile devices, there is a simple solution through cloud-based services.

“The survey shows that the two major challenges for online users are losing digital data and finding a safe and secure storage place for it. Cloud services offer an easy solution to store, backup and organize personal data, especially photos and videos, and make them available from everywhere. Important is to choose the right provider that ensures privacy”, says CEO Jan Oetjen.

Different locations, same storage issue

The survey showed that many users face the same issues and concerns involving storage, regardless of their geographic location. Two thirds of the American respondents (68 percent) stated that they use their mobile device’s memory to save photos, with over half (51 percent) admitting that they are forced to free up space in order to take new photos. Due to the lack of storage, users have relied on other options for storing photos, but that also is not without some setbacks. 

One-third of the Americans (36 percent) keep their photos saved in so many different places, that they forget where certain photos are saved. The different options for saving photos also have users feeling overwhelmed with the volume of saved photos with more than one-fifth of Americans (23 percent) admitting that they feel stressed with the amount of their saved digital photos. However, that number is less compared to consumers in Spain (27 percent), France (26 percent) and Germany (25 percent).

Over 40 percent of Americans use a cloud-based service

Although some Americans rely on phone storage, nearly half rely on cloud-based services to store their photos. The survey found that nearly 43 percent of Americans use the cloud to store their photos; only second behind Spain (47 percent) but ranking higher than Germany (34 percent), France (29 percent) and Great Britain (18 percent) in cloud usage for photos.

So what kinds of photos are being saved on the cloud? The survey found that for each country, photos of people were the most popular category of pictures saved, including a 91 percent response from American participants. One thing that differed among the different countries were what other kinds of photos they save on the cloud:

• Over 75 percent of Americans saved photos of sights or attractions

• More than 50 percent saved photos of their four legged friends and other animals, which is more than any other country

• It is not just family-friendly photos that users are trusting the cloud to keep safe. Participants from every country indicated that they have saved erotic or nude photos in the cloud, including one-in-ten Americans and Spanish users and one-in-six German users.

Men and women use their photos differently

It is not just consumers in the various countries who use the cloud differently, men and women also rely on the cloud for different needs. For example, one-in-six American men has a nude photo saved in the cloud, nine percent more than American women. On the other hand, over 50 percent of American women tend to share saved cloud photos over social media networks compared to 44 percent of men. However, compared to the other countries surveyed, more Americans share photos over social media sites compared to other countries, at a combined 51 percent.

Lucky Brits and French gourmets

Looking at how users deal with their photos in detail, a few characteristics become clear: With the most defective devices (36.6 percent) the Germans are the unlucky fellows of all surveyed countries. On the opposite, the Brits are the lucky ones: 45.2 percent of them have been spared from losing digital photos so far. Considering the kinds of pictures users save in the cloud, two things catch the eye: With 64.6 percent, the Spanish users clearly rank in first place with saving selfies in the cloud. And confirming a well-known cliché about the culinary expertise of the French, interestingly, they are the users with the most food pictures in the cloud (39.5 percent).