Consumer Attitudes on Personal Data

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Consumer Attitudes on Personal Data - U.K.

YouGov, DMA, Opinium Research, GDPR Report, Experian and Data IQ, and ICO Research provide information about consumer attitudes towards data privacy. The research resources show that although consumers are concerned about data privacy in the UK, they are also willing to share their data with organizations they trust and that are transparent about the data usage. Consumers are also willing to share their data for the right incentive or cause. In addition, although UK consumers are less willing to share data across Europe and Asia, UK consumers are more willing to grant government access to individual data in case of national security. The willingness to share data with brands and organizations is more in younger adults than in older adults. Below, you will find more details about our findings and you can also access the attached spreadsheet where we've summarized our findings.


To select the top resources, we defined top research sources as research organizations that are reputable and that have been widely referenced in multiple media platforms and outlets. However, we also prioritized research that included specific data points you're interested in. We also limited our search to resources that have been published in the last 24 months. Although you requested us to search for 5 resources, we ended up reporting on six research resources in other to answer as many of your questions as possible because each resource only covers some certain consumer attitudes.
YouGov and DMA are the two most widely quoted sources on consumer attitude towards data privacy in the UK we came across during our research. Both research resources are detailed and surveyed British consumers exclusively. YouGov's research has been reported by credible sources such as the Open Data Institute and the Guardian. DMA has been publishing consumer data privacy research since 2012 and the 2018 research summarized below is the third in the series. DMA's research is particularly insightful because it shows how attitude has changed between 2012 and 2018 and has been cited in academic journals.
We also included GDPR Report because the source is credible and it answers key questions about the main benefits that consumers look for when sharing their data. GDPR Report aggregates data from other credible research to answer questions on consumer attitude you are interested in. Most of the other consumer data privacy research we came across were behind a paywall, but we included Experian and Data IQ research because it contained more data in the executive summary than similar research behind a paywall and answers key questions about consumer willingness to share data. The ICO research was included because it was conducted by the UK's Information Commissioner's Office and answers question on perceived risk by consumers. We also included research by Opinium Research despite the fact it's not focused solely on the UK because it provides additional data not provided in other resources and also compares UK consumer attitude towards data privacy to that of other countries in Europe and Asia you may find useful.
We were able to answer all the questions apart from that of whether attitude varies by geography, gender, class or earning power. This is because we were unable to find such research despite searching extensively. The research resources on the subject generally focus on the attitude by all the citizen and the only demographic segment we were able to find after an extensive search is by age.


YouGov published research in March 2018 about the attitude of UK consumers towards data privacy. The research was published ahead of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that will help increase data protection right in Europe from May. The research showed that although 72% of people in the UK haven't heard of GDPR, 80% try to limit the amount of data they either put online or share with companies. The research shows that the British public trusts their data with government authorities (60%), healthcare providers (60%) and banks (59%) but do not trust social media companies (11%), retailers and consumer brands (10%), and marketing and advertising companies (2%). About 74% of the British public said they would blame the company or institution for a data breach rather than the hackers and 66% said they are less likely to use a company's services or buy a company's product that they know mishandled data.
One in four young UK adult trust social media companies with their data compared to one in 20 of their parent's generation. About 20% of 18-24 year old said they are comfortable sharing their date of birth with organizations they don't know, compared to 8% for 45-54 year old. In addition, 38% of 18-24 year old said they would be happy sharing personal spending data with companies if it will "help save them money via things such as new savings accounts, insurance policies, shopping discounts, this fell to just 15% of over 55s."
In deciding to share personal data, the most important factor was trust (96%) for UK consumers. Another important factor is transparency, with 33% of respondent saying that they would feel more comfortable if the organization explained what it intends to do with their data. British consumers are most comfortable sharing personal data if it would help develop breakthrough medicine (47%). The other popular data trade-off is to help advance academic understanding of subjects such as psychology (37%).


The DMA research that was published in February 2018 shows that concerns about data privacy have declined from 84% in 2012 to 75% in late 2017 in the UK. The decline is even steeper in 18-24 year old, where data privacy concerns fell from 75% in 2012 to 58% in 2017. The research also showed that two-third of consumers are happy with the amount of data they currently share with organizations. The proportion of UK citizens that have little or no concerns with the amount of data they share has increased from 16% in 2012 to 25% in 2017, while the proportion of people that are unwilling to share any data under any circumstances has fallen from 31% in 2012 to 25% in 2017.
In 2017, over 50% of UK consumers believe that data is important in the smooth running of modern society, a remarkable increase when compared to 38% in 2012. The DMA research also shows that consumers increasingly view their data as an asset that can be traded for a better deal with an organization. About 56% of consumers in 2017 view their data as an asset in data trading exchange with organizations compared to 40% in 2012, however, 78% believe that businesses benefit disproportionately from such data exchange in the UK.
Majority of consumers (86%) say control over collection and usage of their data is their biggest desire, with 65% stating that they feel they lack control over preventing companies from collecting information about them. Trust in an organization is one of the most important factors to consumers when it comes to data sharing (56%).
Transparency is also a vital factor: "between 85% and 88% of consumers state that transparency over data collection and sharing, the benefits on offer and the terms and conditions are important when sharing personal information with businesses."
In terms of benefits consumers look out for, UK consumers want more than just monetary rewards in exchange for their data. Consumers also want "personalization, recommendations, and access to exclusive events/content". According to the research, "the number of people who claim they would be more likely to exchange their personal information in return for personalized products or services has risen from 26% in 2015 to 34%. In addition, the number of people who would be more likely to exchange data in return for personalized brand recommendations has increased from 20% in 2015 to 31%."

Experian and Data IQ RESEARCH

Experian and Data IQ published research on the attitude of consumers and businesses in the UK towards data sharing in 2017. Although, most of the research is behind a paywall, there are some insights about the research in the executive summary. According to the research, 14% more consumers are willing to share their data in 2017 compared to last year. The research found that although people placed more value on their data, they are more willing to share especially if important criteria are met. The important criteria are trust, transparency and cautious usage. "While 22% of consumers are happy to share their data if they trust the organization, 42% will only share information if they feel it has been explained why it is needed."


The research published in 2018 shows that UK consumers are most uncomfortable sharing data from their private messaging (60%) and search history (51%). In addition, UK consumers are also uncomfortable sharing information from their fitness tracker (36%) and on their mood (37%). The report states that UK consumers are open to sharing their private data if the incentive is right. About 54% of UK consumers are willing to share their personal data for reward points; 53% are willing to share for financial or cash reward; 47% are willing to share for discount vouchers; 25% are willing to share for easier processes or application; 23% are willing to share for experiential rewards; 18% are willing to share for services that help discover new products; and 16% are willing to share for personalized rewards and recommendations. The research also citesresearch from Callcredit UK that showed that 60% of consumers want brands to be more transparent about how they use their data. Despite the new GDPR regulation that will come into effect in May, 61% of consumers believe that it is inevitable that they will keep giving data to companies in the foreseeable future.

Opinium Research

Opinium Research conducted research for F5 to assess consumer attitude towards data privacy in the EMEA. The research surveyed 7,000 people in the UK, Germany, France, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Poland in 2016. In general, the research found that although more consumers are sharing data on social networks and with marketing companies, 75% do not trust social media brands and marketing companies to protect their data adequately. In addition, 31% "see no value in giving their personal data to companies, and yet over half (53%) are willing to share their date of birth, marital status (51%) and personal interests (50%) in return for using a company’s services for free."
In the UK specifically, the research found that 33% said they are unwilling to give up their data at all in exchange for using a company's service for free, the highest in the EMEA where only 18% in general indicated they are unwilling to give up their data. In the UK, 75% feel strongly that sharing their data without permission is a misuse, the highest in the EMEA. However, the attitude of UK citizens is different when national security is involved, with 50% agreeing "with the statement that technology organizations should prioritize national security over consumer privacy." This represents the highest percentage of consumers in the EMEA that agree with the statement.


The ICO research shows that more UK citizens trust government organizations (61%) more than businesses and organizations (20%). Only 20% said they trust businesses and organizations to store their personal information adequately. In addition, the research showed that less than 10% say that they understood how businesses and organizations use their data. Only 12% of UK citizens have trust in social media storing and using their data. ICO Research also showed that younger adults are more likely to trust organizations with their data than older adults.


A summary of research resources on the attitude of UK consumers towards data privacy include YouGov, DMA, Opinium Research, GDPR Report, ICO Research and Experian and Data IQ Research. In general, the research resources show that although UK consumers do not trust organizations and brands to store and use their data adequately, they are increasingly sharing their data with organizations, especially those that they trust and that are transparent about their data usage. Detail of the information can be found in the attached spreadsheet here.
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Consumer Attitudes on Personal Data - U.S.


Based on our research, we have found that US consumers are only slightly more willing to share their personal data--23% to 31% of consumers are unwilling to share their personal data, while 25% to 43% were willing to share their personal data in exchange for discounts, benefits and rewards. All requested information for Consumer Attitudes on Personal Data — U.S., can be found in column C, rows 2-7 on the following spreadsheet.

Overview of Findings

Overall, the largest concern of consumers was simply that their privacy was being invaded (32%), not necessarily that their information was being used for nefarious reasons. Consumers proved more worried about companies misinterpreting their data rather than misusing it.

According to Deloitte research, people are less concerned by their lack of control over personal data collection (81%) than they were in 2014 (90%); in fact, people are back on par with results from both 1999 and 2012.

The main benefits U.S. consumers find in having their personal data shared are discounts and benefits, service improvements, faster self-checkout on websites, and receiving information on products they will likely be interested in.

Younger generations take more protective action against any data privacy concerns, this includes adjusting mobile privacy setting and providing false personal information.

There is an upward trend of consumers taking precautionary actions towards data breaches, including: avoiding certain phone apps (64%), adjusting mobile privacy settings (47%), disabling cookies (28%), and paying close attention to privacy settings (26%).

Male consumers (28%) in the U.S. are more willing to share personal data for benefits than female (22%). More females are unwilling(25%) to share personal data than willing (22%). The most willing age group to share personal data for benefits is 30-39 at 42% and, according to the Deloitte research, the age group least willing to share personal data is 60+ at 35%.

The insurance sector (50%) and financial sectors (48%) received the highest positive responses for personal data usage.


We have completed the research requested for Consumer Attitudes on Personal Data - U.S., and we have entered it into the spreadsheet.
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Consumer Attitudes on Personal Data - Europe

Europeans (EU consumers), in particular, Eastern Europeans (i.e. Estonians), are generally less inclined to trade personal data for products and services. Western Europeans (i.e. Germans) and Southern Europeans (i.e. the French) are more open to trading their personal data for products or services. Overall, European consumers want increased control over how their personal data is used.

A detailed overview of our findings is available in column D, rows 2 to 7, of the attached spreadsheet.


We were able to extract most of the requested information from sources no older than 24-months. In order to provide more concrete and inclusive data, we used a source from 2015 as there is no other available information from recent years.

We searched through the European Data Protection Supervisor site for any information regarding the subject matter, specifically looking through annual reports and other related reports for information. This route proved to be fruitless. We then searched the European Unions official website, one of the most credible sites to access accurate aggregated information on all 28 EU member states. After an exhaustive search through the official European Union site, we found the ideal report which was published in 2015. A continuous search through the EU site for any recent reports proved quite fruitless.

We were able to find recent sources that corroborate the data presented in the 2015 report, which allowed us to present our findings through a number of recent sources. However, the demographic information is most detailed in the 2015 report. Consequently, you will find some of this information presented throughout the response in the attached spreadsheet as well as below.

Willingness to exchange personal data

Generally, consumers from Eastern European countries are less inclined to trade their personal data compared to consumers from Western Europe and Southern Europe. According to a study by research firm GfK on behalf of IAB Europe, 77% of consumers prefer free generic news content, rather than more personalized content as it allows them to keep their browsing history private. In general, Europeans are most comfortable disclosing their personal information online when making payments or when getting a purchase delivered. In fact, 57% of European consumers believe that providing personal information is a "big issue".

Some consumers are willing to exchange personal data for ads, of which 50% say yes to sponsored content, 42% say yes to personalized ads based on browsing data, and 20% say yes to data shared by third-parties for ads.

Perceived benefits

There are a number of benefits that EU consumers associate with the exchange of personal data. This includes the 46% of consumers that benefit when they make an online payment and the 44% of consumers that benefit when they have a purchase delivered. EU consumers exchange personal data to connect with others at 18%, at 15% to obtain a personalized service, at 14% to get a free service, and at 12% to save "time on their next visit." European customers also benefit by receiving money or price reductions and "from personalized commercial offers" at 7% each.

Perceived risks

The lack of transparency, or what will be done with their data, is a major deterrent for many EU consumers. According to a 2017 Pegasystems study, 90% of EU consumers feel that not having control over how companies use their data is a major risk. Another area of concern for 40% of EU consumers is that their data may be used for fraudulent activities.


Increased consumer control has become a major trend. Under the EU's new ePrivacy law, websites have to inform visitors that they are using cookies. Half (50%) of EU consumers (mainly from Eastern Europe) agree with this policy, while the remaining 50% prefer to access information that explains exactly how their data will be used with the option of stopping the use of such data.

Despite the increased need for control, only 18% of EU consumers read the privacy policies on websites, 67% claim the statements are too long, and 38% find them difficult to understand. However, with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) soon coming into practice, more Europeans are willing to read through website privacy policies as they are now able to control the outcome of their personal data. In fact, "89% want to see the data companies store on them," and 47% feel that just by being able to see the data companies have on them is of importance.

Attitudes by demographic

According to a Forrester study, 26% of "young tech-savvy" Europeans are comfortable sharing their personal information with companies as long as they get a benefit in return, 40% of those 18 to 24-years old share their personal data widely, and 10% of the "oldest and least tech-savvy generation" are concerned about their privacy.

According to a study by the European Commission, when asked to agree to the following statements, this is what consumers agreed to.

1. "There is no alternative than to provide personal information if you want to obtain products or services."

• Male: 58%
• Female: 58%

• 15-24: 69%
• 25-39: 67%
• 40-54: 62%
• 55+: 44%

2. "Providing personal information is NOT a big issue for you."

• Male: 37%
• Female: 32%

• 15-24: 44%
• 25-39: 37%
• 40-54: 34%
• 55+: 30%

3. "You don't mind providing personal information in return for a free service online (e.g. free email address)."

• Male: 32%
• Female: 28%

• 15-24: 47%
• 25-39: 38%
• 40-54: 31%
• 55+: 17%

Other significant findings

In 2015, 71% of Europeans believed that "providing personal information is an increasing part of modern life." Europeans (75%) also placed great trust in the ability of public authorities to protect their personal data. This trust has translated into the implementation of the GDPR. The GDPR requires all organizations to place consumer personal privacy as a top priority. This law will give consumers the choice and control over how organizations use consumer data. Under the new law, EU citizens will be able to "erase or delete their personal information; access to the personal data an organization holds about them; the ability to correct inaccurate or incomplete information; and over automated decisions and profiling." It's reported that 82% of Europeans intend to take advantage of the new rights put in place by the GDPR.


In general, Europeans hold a high regard for the protection of personal data. However, the younger generation (ages 18 to 24) do not share this sentiment as they are the most willing to exchange personal data for products and services that are of value to them. We have provided a detailed overview of our findings in column D, rows 2 to 7 of the attached spreadsheet.
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Consumer Attitudes on Personal Data - China

Based on several research findings, Chinese consumers are concerned about data privacy. Same as other countries, they are aware of the potential harms posed by the misuse or abuse of personal data. 74% are worried about identity theft and 62% think that someone might steal their money. In general, 62% want to maintain privacy. Some are willing to share personal data in exchange for benefits such as medical advances that can directly affect them, lower insurance premiums and discounts on mobile services. Detailed information and other statistical data can be found in the attached spreadsheet titled Consumer Attitudes on Personal Data.

The main sources used for this research were recent studies conducted and published by GFK, KPMG, MEF and Frog Design Inc., all of which are trusted organizations in the research and consultancy fields. The GFK Group is one of the world's largest market research companies. KPMG is a trusted provider of business advisory. The MEF or Mobile Ecosystem Forum on the other hand, is a global trade body that addresses issues in the mobile ecosystem. Finally, Frog Design Inc. is a consultancy firm that uses research, strategy, technology and design for its products and services.


Rows 2-7 of column E of the attached spreadsheet has been updated with the necessary information.
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Consumer Attitudes on Personal Data - Cambridge Analytica

In the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the personal data of more than 50 million Facebook users were obtained illegally in an attempt to influence political outcomes. Studies show that people now demand stricter policies from companies over the handling of their personal data. Plenty of news articles are circulating about this scandal since it occurred so recently (less than a month ago). However, only a few surveys or studies have been done specifically on how consumer attitudes on personal data have been affected. A few of the sources we have used in answering this request are based in the United Kingdom but ultimately the studies have more of a global focus. Consumers acknowledge that most social media platforms are free to use and that these companies profit from sharing personal data with advertisers, but now they are looking for greater transparency and control over their information, along with government interference.


According to a study conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), concerns about privacy invasions have peaked after the recent controversy over the use of Facebook data by United Kingdom company Cambridge Analytica. Based on this research, "large majorities of customers want companies to ask for permission before collecting and distributing any personal data they gather from customer interactions or IoT programmes."


Following the Cambridge Analytica data sharing scandal, less than half of Americans now trust Facebook with their personal data, according to a new poll released by Reuters. The results show that the majority of those polled don’t like the targeted advertising that websites create with their personal data. They also want the government to take a bigger role in overseeing the industry’s handling of user information.


Perhaps the most extreme reaction to the Cambridge Analytica scandal is the newly trending hashtag #deletefacebook. While the threat will likely not come to fruition, it does prove that trust, clarity, and transparency are important to consumers when it comes to allowing a website such as Facebook access to so much of their personal information. Social media websites in particular are urged to respect their customers' privacy and to offer real value in exchange for their consumers' private data. The breach of privacy enabled by Facebook really shook up the public, as compared to the many other significant data breaches of recent years. Despite the #deletefacebook movement, consumers will keep on using the platform and others like it but will more vigilant about what information they share.


Regarding the Cambridge Analytica controversy, Facebook users want to know if they are one of the 50 million Facebook users whose information was breached, where their data is now, who has taken their data, whether an audit trail exists on which apps or other entities have scraped their data, whether Facebook has the ability to tackle the enormity of this issue, and what Facebook users should be doing in the meantime. These questions were put forth by callers on an NPR radio show segment called All Tech Considered and discussed between Ailsa Chang and Manoush Zomorodi.


In a news video by CNBC, Arjun Kharpal discusses the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica controversy. The major points were that "people are realizing that their data hygiene has been poor over the past few years and their footprint is all over the internet. People are getting smarter with their data following the scandal." They are also spending less time on Facebook, though not exactly quitting altogether and deleting their accounts. This suggests that consumers really are becoming more careful about how and where they share their personal information on the internet as compared to before the scandal.


The general public reaction to the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook data sharing scandal has been outrage and insecurity. According to the five studies described above regarding consumer attitudes on sharing their personal data, people want more transparent privacy policies, government support, and are being more careful about what information they post online. Furthermore, Facebook users appear to be hesitant to post on Facebook for the time being and have started a movement to #deletefacebook, but they will likely not give it up completely.