USB Drives Aid File Sharing

Portable USB flash drives come in all shapes and sizes, and capacities and capabilities are growing to suit users. Eighty percent of respondents in a survey have flash drives primarily for personal use, and share files with their friends 66 percent of the time according to a survey conducted by Hall & Partners, commissioned by M-Systems and DiskOnKey.

The survey polled 415 respondents who regularly use USB flash drive devices or are likely to buy one within the next six months. It found USB drive consumers are predominantly male, in their mid-30s to mid-50s, and make over $50K a year.

Most Popular Files
Stored on USB Drive
File Type Respondents
Music 62%
Graphics 52%
Video 46%
Source: Hall & Partners, February 2005

The overwhelming majority of respondents (83 percent) would pay more for extra storage capacity, with 59 percent are likely to buy another flash drive in the next two years. Capacity is an important purchase consideration, say 51 percent of respondents, followed by speed. Thirty-eight percent of those questioned want a faster drive.

USB flash drives have become a daily accessory for 21 percent of those surveyed. Sixty-six percent use their drive to share files with friends and families. The pass-along rate of files (not necessarily the drives themselves) may provide a new outlet for rich media that can be stored and shared on USB flash drives.

Interest in Future Applications
on USB Drive
Application Respondents
Customizing portable desktop 54%
Accessing email 51%
Managing passwords 47%
Accessing Web accounts 43%
Source: Hall & Partners, February 2005

“Making content more portable, like the BMW film ads; USB flash drives made it easy to transport content,” says Joe Unsworth of Gartner Group.

Unsworth explains the price point is the driving factor in the sale of this medium, with a $50 purchase price being the sweet spot for most buyers. A few are willing to spend a few dollars more to up the capacity of the drive they are purchasing.

“They want that extra storage for a few more dollars. That is where it is compelling, and has made the market elastic,” comments Unsworth.

Another element to the pass-along rate of USB flash drives is when they’re given out at conferences and events loaded with presentations and other data. The affordable size for this brand of promotion is typically up to 64 megabytes.

“You are going to see video talk tracks and music talk tracks,” explains Unsworth. “There is talk about giving away music player USB drive devices with little cost to the marketer.”

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