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Increase in file sharing

11th January 2012 Print

A European study into file sharing behaviour by, the innovative supplier of web hosting services, reveals that file sharing has increased from 2010 to 2011. Four in five respondents share photos, documents, spreadsheets, presentations, music and videos via email, while only seven percent burn discs to share with friends and family. Swedes emerge from the study as those who use tablets and smartphones the most, while the European average is only one in seven respondents using mobile devices for file sharing.

The survey reveals that 82 percent of European respondents shared more files in 2011 than they did in 2010. This trend is being led by survey participants in the UK (92 percent), Belgium (83 percent) and Denmark (82 percent), while 24 percent of respondents in the Netherlands and 22 percent in Sweden are sharing fewer files in 2011 than in 2010.

The main reasons given for sharing less this year are that there are fewer opportunities to share files (40 percent), it is too time-consuming (13 percent) and concerns over privacy (13 percent). Interestingly security worries do not seem to concern respondents in Belgium, Netherlands or Sweden much, who did not cite this as an explanation for sharing a reduced amount of files in 2011.

Recent analyst houses including Forrester Research report that as early as next year there could be 60 million tablets and 175 million smartphones in use by mobile professionals around the world . In spite of this, the survey reveals that file sharing takes place predominantly over laptops (63 percent) and desktop computers (22 percent).

Out of all respondents, the Swedes are the most active mobile users distributing files music, videos and photos to friends, family and colleagues over tablets (seven percent) and smartphones (20 percent). In contrast, Belgians (two percent for tablets and two percent for smartphones), Dutch (two percent for tablets and twelve percent for smartphones) and Danish (three percent for tablets and no smartphone usage) are at the other end of the spectrum, lowering the average of European mobile sharing to two percent for tablets and twelve percent for smartphones.

Other key findings from the survey revealed: 

Across Europe, the most communicated files are photos (79 percent), text documents (62 percent), PDF files (61 percent) and spreadsheets (47 percent). Video (36 percent) and music (31 percent) files are shared to a lesser extent 

Four in five respondents said that they distribute files generally via email, with the Dutch in first place with 93 percent, the Germans and Belgians in second place with 88 percent and the British in third place with 80 percent 

Only seven percent of European respondents occasionally use CDs and DVDs to share files, with 22 percent of Germans and twelve percent of Dutch respondents burning discs to share with friends, family and colleagues 

File sharing occurs the most in the second half of the day, mainly in the afternoon between 12pm and 6pm (47 percent) and during the evening from 6pm and 12am (36 percent)

“People often think that sharing large files can be complicated and time-consuming, especially if you use ftp servers with complicated log-in procedures or need to split the data into different packages so it can fit on two or three USB sticks”, said Thomas Medard Frederiksen, COO at

“It does not need to be complicated. With our Cloud Drive, part of our web hosting packages, you can store files easily and safely and create a sharable link directly on your computer, through the browser or with one of the apps for mobile devices. You can give the link to those you want to share some folder, files or pictures with and by clicking on the link, the recipient can access all the data you have chosen to share.”

The File Sharing survey was conducted online among 272 respondents from Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden and the UK from November 25 to December 9, 2011.