Growing numbers of customers are shunning companies that lose sensitive data to hackers in security breaches, latest figures show.

The survey of over 1200 UK consumers, which was conducted by Secerno, found that more than half of consumers said that they would take their custom elsewhere following a data breach of their information. More than three-quarters (82 per cent) expect to be informed immediately in the event of a data loss.

Outsourcing also appears to be a concern for UK customers. The study reveals that 63 per cent of consumers are worried about the level of security at data centres and the ability to protect their personal information.

According to the report, more than half (53 per cent) of shoppers will shun a company’s services if they fail to immediately communicate any security breaches and 45 per cent do not believe that banks and online retailers are doing enough to protect the data of their customers.

In December the US discount retailer TJX, which owns TJ Maxx, and the UK outlet TK Maxx, revealed that criminal hackers had stolen more than 45 million credit card records in what security experts called the “largest data breach ever”.

“These cases have had an impact on the attitudes of consumers in both the online and offline worlds,” said Paul Davie, CEO of Secerno. “Consumers have a right to be told immediately whenever their personal information may have been compromised, yet those companies holding personal data know that they are likely be punished when a breach becomes known. This means that companies have an immediate disincentive to do the right thing in such cases.”

Davie argues that an EU Directive to enforce disclosure of security breaches, similar to legislation in the US, should be implemented into European law.

“Without getting to grips with database management and reviewing the new generation of effective protection from internal and external attacks, it is evident that customers will punish the service-providers for their lack of efficiency and respect for their security,” he added.