Despite high-profile consumer marketing campaigns from the likes of Microsoft, the majority of European PC users are unfamiliar with the term "cloud computing", according to research commissioned by the Business Software Alliance (BSA).
The research, which saw Ipsos Public Affairs quiz 4,000 PC users across nine EU countries, also suggested that developing markets have leapfrogged more mature markets when it comes to the use of cloud-based services.
Some 65 per cent of those questioned said they have "never heard of" the term or have "only heard the name", a finding the BSA labelled "unfortunate", given the "enormous benefits" cloud offers.
The figures varied significantly across the EU, with 28 per cent of UK users reporting high levels of familiarity with the term, compared with 10 per cent in France.
Just 24 per cent of respondents said they access cloud applications, compared with 34 per cent globally.
Cloud usage – or at least the perception of cloud usage – was found to be higher in relatively less-developed markets such as Greece and Romania, where the figure was 39 per cent (compared with 17 per cent in Germany and 19 per cent in France).
The BSA said this mirrors a broader global trend in which developing markets appear to have leapfrogged more mature markets in their adoption of cloud-based services.
BSA chief executive Robert Holleyman said: "Cloud computing will create enormous benefits for the European economy by allowing governments, enterprises and consumers to tap into high-calibre software and IT resources more efficiently and cost effectively than ever before.
"Unfortunately, most computer users in the EU have little understanding of cloud computing and have not yet moved to capitalise on the opportunities cloud computing offers."
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