UK consumers have concerns about personal data in the hands of brands

News by Danielle Correa

With two-thirds (67 percent) of UK consumers concerned about how brands use their personal information, brands face a growing battle to offer personalised services online.

New research from Gigya found that with only one year left to address data privacy concerns and avoid consumer “opt-out” when GDPR goes into effect in May 2018, brands must take note of the extensive new rights for consumers regarding data protection and control over how their personal data is used.

The 2017 State of Consumer Privacy and Trust report surveyed 4,000 adults, half from the UK and half from the US.

Two-thirds of UK respondents worry their personal data could be compromised by IoT devices such as smartwatches, fitness trackers and home devices. Seventy-three percent of US respondents are concerned about the security of personal IoT devices.

UK respondents feel brands' privacy policies have become weaker (32 percent) in the face of growing cyber-security attacks, and tougher regulation, rather than stronger (26 percent).

Concern about data privacy rises across generations with a 13 percent gap between the 18 to 24 year olds (60 percent) and over-65s (73 percent). Most age groups in between hover around 70 percent.

When respondents were asked their opinions on IoT devices, the pattern repeated with similar scores (62 percent and 72 percent, respectively).

The survey also discovered that UK respondents have doubts that their data privacy will improve under Theresa May's government. Eighteen percent feel it will be less secure compared to 17 percent who believe it will be more secure.

Meanwhile, 32 percent of US respondents feel their data will be more secure under Donald Trump's administration, compared with 26 percent who think it will be less secure.

“Marketers have been quick to embrace the web, social media and smart devices to engage with consumers on a level that has completely transformed brand relationships. These relationships now rely on the unprecedented free-flow of increasingly sensitive customer data, in exchange for convenience, better recommendations, or access to that data across all of our devices,” said Richard Lack, managing director of EMEA at Gigya in a release.

He added, “But marketers are about to experience a seismic shift in the way they collect and manage data for the first time and radically changing the way that personally identifiable information is defined. This research pinpoints an urgent need for retailers and marketers to restore public confidence in the year ahead. They must put GDPR compliant systems in place to prevent a mass consumer ‘opt-out' when the new regulations are enforced.

Lack concluded, “It is important brands don't think they're off the hook just because the public increasingly recognises its own role in keeping data private and secure. Yes, as consumers, we must be aware of the risks, and take precautions. But as technology evolves, and regulation tightens, brands must take the issues of data security firmly in hand, understanding the value of trusted relationships.”

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