A global study commissioned by the Global Alliance of Data-Driven Marketing Associations (GDMA), the UK’s DMA and Acxiom has revealed that 77% of people are pragmatic or largely unconcerned about sharing their data with organisations, with just over half prepared to share it provided there is a clear benefit for doing so.
The ‘Global data privacy: What the consumer really thinks’ report shows a similarity in consumer views in the countries surveyed about sharing their personal information. Just over half of people (51%) across the 10 markets and four continents surveyed are ‘Data pragmatists’ who will decide whether to share their personal information on a case-by-case basis, dependent on the benefits. This rises to nearly 60% in Singapore, Spain and the USA. A further 26% have little concern about how their data is collected and used, which the study describes as the ‘Data unconcerned’, and in Germany and the Netherlands this group rises to over a third at 34% and 35% respectively.
Consumers unwilling to provide their personal information, even in return for the offer of better service (‘Data fundamentalists’) accounted for just under a quarter of respondents (23%), with this group smallest in Argentina (16%) and Singapore (17%).
While 74% of people have some degree of concern about their online privacy, more than half (51%) of the global consumers questioned in the study are still happy to exchange their data with businesses, as long as there is a clear benefit for doing so. Almost half of people (41%) also said they understood that sharing data is an essential part of the smooth running of modern society. However, 38% believe they should have ultimate responsibility for their data security over government institutions (15%) or businesses (5%). This was strongest in Germany (49%), Australia (46%) and the UK (46%); while respondents in Spain (24%) and the Netherlands (23%) believe government should take the lead.
The report also finds that control, trust and transparency are universally important, with half of consumers (51%) across all the markets surveyed saying trust was key in their decision to share information with a company. 86% of consumers want more transparency, and 83% more control when it comes to their data in order to build trust.
Chris Combemale, GDMA Board member and CEO of DMA (UK) Group, said:
“We are in a new era of data privacy. Questions have been raised about whether major data stories and increased talk about the value of our personal data is impacting consumer concerns over how their information is used and managed. In fact, our research shows that consumer attitudes are changing in a positive way that makes us optimistic.”
“Overall, people understand the value in sharing their personal data as part of a modern economy. But, as we move forward, it will be a challenge to see how businesses can capitalise on this a positive consumer attitude and ensure that consumers’ relationship with the data economy does not end with a reluctant acceptance of its existence.”
Sheila Colclasure, Global Chief Data Ethics Officer at Acxiom, added:
“It is incredibly important these days to understand how consumers view data privacy across the globe and encouraging to see how similar they feel about key issues. The clear trend is towards greater acceptance of data exchange as part and parcel of everyday life. This is positive news for marketers who believe in data ethics and in greater transparency, access and control for the consumer as this will be key to achieving the win-win businesses and importantly, consumers, really want.”
The study was conducted in November 2017 by Foresight Factory. It was an online survey of a minimum 1,000 sample of respondents aged 18+ across 10 global markets exploring public attitudes towards privacy and data exchange. The markets included in the survey are Argentina, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, the UK and the USA.