Consumer Confidence in Data Privacy Falls; Trusted Brands Benefit

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, criminals have been taking advantage of people spending more time at home, targeting individuals with scam phone calls and emails. Scams linked to the Covid-19 pandemic have cost Americans $586 million since the beginning of 2020, according to the Federal Trade Commission1.

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With this in mind, leading innovation and insights agency buzzback, along with global insights organisation ESOMAR and HERE Technologies, followed up on their 2019 global study into data privacy by interviewing 5,000 respondents from the US, UK, Brazil, Germany, and China to find out if and how consumer feelings around the topic are changing and help brands address some urgent issues.

The new study shows that the level of concern about sharing personal information digitally has risen; from 55% two years ago to 60% now. People now think harder about who to share their data with. In 2019, 54% didn’t consider who they were giving their information to, in 2021 that figure is 48%.

With confidence in privacy reducing, the positive impact of brand trust is increasing. Willingness to buy from trusted brands is on the rise. 87% said they are more willing to buy from companies that handled personal data as they should. Big brands such as Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft are at the top for consumer trust, while the research shows that social media giants are still not building trust. In spite of this, people will still continue to use services such as social media even if they don’t fully trust them.

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People are now less aware of what happens to their personal data – particularly in the US, where we see a 15% drop in certainty of what happens with personal information (from 40% in 2019 to 25 % this year). This lack of trust or understanding leads to people not wanting to divulge their information, even when there is a potential reward. Only 30% are now willing to trade losing their privacy for possible benefits, down from 35%.

Although the level of scepticism is higher, people are however willing to put their concern aside for the greater good. For example, to help stop the spread of the pandemic, 51% of respondents would still permit the recording of their health data to improve the general well-being or saving lives. And 30% would be happy to share their location or personal data if there’s value in doing this.

Carol Fitzgerald, Founder and CEO at buzzback, said “This is a really challenging time for brands as consumer anxiety around data privacy has rocketed. Brands can’t buy trust, but they should prioritize it. It’s critical that organisations implement the highest levels of security to protect people’s data. This won’t only protect consumers it will also boost brands’ revenues.”

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