How Much Data Is Created Every Day in 2023
Updated · Mar 06, 2023
We generate so much data every day that if it were written down in the form of books, and we could pile those books one on top of another, we’d have enough to build a bridge to the moon—and back.
Yes, that’s true with just one day’s worth of data.
Granted, most of that data isn’t particularly valuable. (Nowadays, it’s mostly TikTok reels.)
Still, once you learn how much data is created every day, you’ll find that the couple hundred gigabytes on your phone (or even PC) are a drop in the ocean in comparison.
Read on to find out all the latest stats on Big Data!
Key Data Facts You Have to Know
- Facebook generates 4 PB of data per day.
- Netflix is responsible for a third of video streaming IP traffic.
- The upload rate of fresh content on YouTube is 3.5 years of footage per minute.
- A single person creates 1.7 MB of data every second.
- Depending on the field, 94%–99.9% of data is digital.
- 85% of data is actually copies of other data.
- Amazon owns 1.4 million servers.
- We generate 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day.
Data Numbers You Can Hardly Comprehend
There’s nothing to be ashamed of, though—big numbers are surprisingly tough to visualize, even for those who aren’t mathematically challenged.
Did you know that one million seconds is roughly 11 days, but one billion seconds is 31.5 years? Weird, huh?
Now, you probably know that one million bytes is one megabyte. And that one billion bytes is one gigabyte. But now think about the fact that there are terabytes, petabytes, exabytes… (and keep multiplying by a thousand each time.)
How much data is there in the world?
A lot more than you can imagine. In fact, we need to introduce a new unit of memory here—the zettabyte.
1. By the end of 2022, there will be 97 zettabytes of data in the world.
(Source: Bernard Marr & Co.)
1 ZB is the equivalent of 1,000 exabytes. Or a trillion gigabytes. Or, put simply, a ‘1’ with 21 zeros after it.
Now, let’s marvel at the speed of data creation: Projections suggest that, in just another three years, the world’s data will reach 175 ZB.
Do you know how much 175 zettabytes is?
Let’s put it this way: If you ever tried downloading it by yourself, it’d take you about two billion years!
Fun fact: Do you know how much data is created every day? No less than 2.5 quintillion bytes! (That’s two exabytes plus 500 petabytes.)
2. A single person generates 1.7 MB of data every second.
Keep in mind that while this is the average for every person on Earth, those of us who stream films and music for hours on end obviously generate more data than the 40% of the world’s population that don’t even have access to the Internet.
Fun fact: People in the US use up 3,138,420 GB every minute. In a month, that number can reach up to 150 exabytes.
3. One person generates 49.8 GB of IP traffic every month.
What about the rate of data growth?
Well, in 2017, IP traffic saw a run rate of 16.2 GB per capita; in 2022, that figure is at about 49.8 GB, according to recent projections.
Of course, the average number of devices we own has also soared (from 2.4 to 3.6 per capita) and we now have nearly twice as fast internet speeds (from 39.0 Mbps to 75.4 Mbps), so it makes sense that we’re generating substantially larger volumes of data.
4. Video traffic makes up 82% of all consumer internet traffic.
In other words, more than four-fifths of the total amount of data in the world is made up of video traffic.
Video has gotten much more prominent in recent years. In fact, it’s become the main form of entertainment—just look at all the popular streaming platforms (Netflix, Disney+, etc.), and social media (TikTok, Instagram Reels, Facebook Watch).
To think that just a decade ago, YouTube was pretty much the only video platform out there!
Fun fact: 4K video, which is virtually the standard resolution today, uses 7.2 GB per hour. That’s 2 MB per second, you data-hungry beast.
5. 68% of global traffic is mobile.
Let’s go deeper into data of internet traffic. Globally, 68% of website visits originate from mobile devices. In the US, though, only 61% do.
In general terms, mobile users appear to be a lot more fickle in general, spending half as much time on a given website compared to desktop users.
Furthermore, most website visits related to business, education, electronics, science, and literature happen on desktops. People prefer mobile devices for light entertainment, such as home decoration, hobbies, sports, beauty, and food.
6. Only 15% of data is original.
As astonishing as the sheer amount of data in the world in 2022 is, little of it is original. Reports suggest that the vast majority (up to 85%) of it consists of copies of files.
This is especially true in the professional world, where multiple people in an organization might need a copy of a piece of data. Just think about all those attachment-riddled company-wide emails.
Yeah, you’re not the only one downloading the attachments. And then you edit them and save another few versions. (And that’s how we get to 85%.)
7. 50% of all data will be in the cloud by 2025.
Now that you know how much data exists in the world, we’re gonna take a look at where people keep it.
Right now, about a third is on consumer devices; another third, in traditional enterprise data centers; and the final third, in cloud storage.
However, this is changing quickly—with cloud solutions gaining momentum, consumers are now keeping less data on their personal devices.
Projections show that by 2025, half of all data will be in the cloud and just 20% of it will remain in personal devices (a significant decrease from the 60% at the beginning of the 2010s).
Big Tech and Big Data
The data explosion the world has experienced in recent years is in no small part thanks to the rise of gigantic technology companies.
Titans in the field of hardware and software, particularly social media, hold thousands upon thousands of petabytes of information in their data centers.
8. Collectively, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook store 1,200+ petabytes of data.
(Source: Science Focus)
While these four companies are certainly some of the biggest players in cloud storage solutions, it’s still incredible to think that they account for more than 1,200 PB of information just by themselves.
Units of data such as petabytes can be difficult to comprehend, but let’s put it this way: An average laptop nowadays generally comes with a storage capacity of one terabyte, so you’d need 1.2 million such devices to rival the Big Four.
9. Netflix is responsible for a third of video streaming IP traffic.
We already talked about how data-heavy video streaming is, so it’s no shocker that Netflix is responsible for 32.72% of all IP traffic related to video streaming.
YouTube comes in second at about half of that, 17.31%. A distant third is Amazon Video, with 3.96%, whereas Hulu accounts for a meager 2.47%.
Fun fact: On average, a Netflix subscriber watches 3.2 hours of content a day, which is equivalent to 9.6 GB of data.
10. How much data does Google have?
It’s hard to calculate the exact amount of data Google stores at any given time. After all, we’re talking about the company behind YouTube, Gmail, Google Maps, Google Photos, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides… should we keep going?
The tech giant said in 2008 that just its search engine processed over 20 PB of information every day. That number is closer to 200 PB nowadays.
And that’s from Google Search alone. Now think about how much data the rest of Google’s apps process…
Fun fact: Back when Google Photos let you store all your photos on the cloud for free, people uploaded a collective total of 28 billion items a day.
11. Google processes 99,000 searches each second.
When trying to understand how much data is generated every day, you can either think of bytes and weird prefixes such as “peta” and “exa” and what-not, or you can use more familiar metrics.
Here’s one example: In 1998, Google was processing just 10,000 searches daily. In 2006, it was 10,000 searches each second. In 2017, this number stood at 40,000. Now, Google Search handles 99,000 searches every second.
That’s 8.5 billion searches a day.
Since about half of the world’s population uses the Internet, this means each netizen looks up two things daily on average.
12. Amazon has over 1.4 million servers.
To know how much data is in the world, we have to look at the largest players in the field of storage capacity. The largest cloud infrastructure provider is Amazon, with its Amazon Web Services (AWS) subsidiary.
But how big is the biggest?
Well, AWS operates over 1.4 million servers across 26 geographic regions in 245 countries and territories.
Fun fact: AWS signed a $10 billion deal with the NSA in 2021. In 2020, another one with the CIA. We’re telling you—the cloud is the future.
13. YouTubers upload 500 hours of content every minute.
If you insist on using the byte scale to describe data, then we’re talking about thousands of gigabytes, that is, multiple terabytes of content per minute.
Time is a bit easier to comprehend, though, and time-wise, 500 hours per minute means 30,000 hours of content every hour.
That’s three-and-a-half years of footage!
You remember Miller’s planet from Interstellar? The one where the flow of time is warped and thousands of times slower than on Earth?
Yeah, moving there’s the only way you could possibly keep up and watch all of that fresh YouTube goodness.
Fun fact: As recently as 2012, YouTube only saw 60 hours of content uploaded per minute. A decade later, the platform has grown nearly tenfold.
14. Facebook generates 4 PB of data daily.
How much data is generated every day on a single social media platform?
Well, Facebook recently reported that its users create about four petabytes of information every day.
That’s right, a thousand one-terabyte hard drives filled to the brim… mostly with your niece’s selfies, but hey—data is data.
Facebook stores all of this information in the Hive, a data warehouse containing upwards of 300 PB of data.
15. TikTok uses up to 840 MB per hour.
(Source: What’s a Byte)
That’s 25–30 GB per month.
You can enable TikTok’s data saving mode, though, which will halve the amount of data you consume while checking out the latest dance moves.
For comparison, a 1080p video on YouTube will typically consume around 2 GB per hour. So, if you think about it, maybe TikTok isn’t so bad after all…
Since the 1990s, data has grown dramatically. The sheer volume of data that needs to be processed at any given time has become so immense that “big data” is now an actual term. The big data market is expected to soon reach $100 billion in yearly revenue, earning itself a spot on the list of the biggest industries in the US.
This is, of course, wholly unsurprising. No matter how much data is created every day, we need to be able to process it and store it in a timely fashion—hence the ever-rising demand for appropriate software and hardware solutions.
It appears that very soon we’ll have to come up with even more unusual prefixes—once zettabytes and yottabytes have become the new normal, that is.
A wayfarer by heart, Jordan fancies journeying into foreign lands with a camera in hand almost as much as he enjoys roving the online world. He spends his time poking at letters and pixels, trying to transmogrify them into something cool.