The "digital universe" is a measure of all the digital data created, replicated, and used in a single year, and a projection of the size of that universe to the end of the decade. IDC's sixth annual study of the digital universe:
- From 2005 to 2020, the digital universe will grow from 130 exabytes to 40,000 exabytes,
- From now until 2020, the digital universe will about double every two years
- A majority of the information in the digital universe, 68% in 2012, is created and consumed by consumers (TV, social media, images and video)
- Yet enterprises have liability or responsibility for nearly 80% of the information in the digital universe.
- By 2020, nearly 40% of the information in the digital universe will be "touched" by cloud computing providers
- The amount of information individuals create themselves (writing documents, taking pictures, downloading music, etc.) is far less than the amount of information being created about them
- Much of the digital universe is transient (not saved)
- The amount of information in the digital universe that is "tagged" accounts for only about 3% of the digital universe in 2012, and that which is analyzed is half a percent of the digital universe.
- The share of the digital universe attributable to emerging markets is up to 36% in 2012 and will be 62% by 2020. By then, China alone will generate 21% of the bit stream entering the digital universe.