COVID-19 crisis shifts data patterns

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IDC's Global DataSphere Forecast predicts continued steady growth in the creation and consumption of data in 2020, partially driven by coronavirus.

According to the outlook, more than 59 zettabytes of data will be created, captured, copied and consumed in the world this year.

IDC says the COVID-19 pandemic is contributing to this figure due to the abrupt increase in the number of people working from home and a change in the mix of data being created. An increase in video communication, downloading and streaming is resulting in a “richer set of data”.

Replicated data

IDC’s Global DataSphere measures the amount of data created and consumed in the world each year.

The ratio of unique data (created and captured) to replicated data (copied and consumed) is roughly 1:9, but the trend is a slow migration toward less unique and more replicated data, IDC says. By 2024, IDC expects this ratio to be 1:10.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has hindered the creation of new unique data, the increased consumption of replicated data has fuelled the continued data growth. This growth is forecast to continue through 2024 with a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26%.

"Growth of the Global DataSphere is driven more by the data that we consume and analyse than what we create," said David Reinsel, Senior Vice President for IDC's Global DataSphere. "Obviously, data must be created before it can be analysed, but the recursion rate of data – the rate at which the same data is processed again – continues to grow exponentially driving the 'unique' DataSphere down to 10% of the total DataSphere."

Sensors

The report finds that the amount of data created over the next three years will be more than the data created over the past 30 years, and the world will create more than three times the data over the next five years than it did in the previous five.

Productivity/embedded data is the fastest-growing category of data creation with a 40.3% CAGR for the 2019–2024 forecast period. IDC expects that entertainment data will be 40% of the data created, captured and replicated by 2024 and productivity/embedded data will be 29%, stalled somewhat by COVID-19 dynamics.

Sensor data along with increasing amounts of metadata (data about data) is growing “aggressively” and will soon surpass all other data types, IDC expects.

The consumer share of the Global DataSphere is expected to hover around 50% and decline roughly 4% over the next five years, slowly ceding share to enterprise data.