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 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.