Transparency key to making more consumers happy with data sharing


In the run-up to GDPR, new research from the DMA and Acxiom shows that people are increasing happy about the data they share, but transparency is the key to taking this to the next level


In less than 100 days the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force, bringing with it new laws covering how businesses collect, store and use consumer data. As businesses prepare for the new rules, almost two-thirds (61%) of consumers are already happy with the amount of personal information they share. This change in attitudes has been greatest among 55-64 year-olds who have historically been more cautious; 63% said they are happy with the amount of data they share today, compared to 47% in 2012. Critically, 88% cite transparency as one of the keys to further increasing trust in how their data is collected and used.

The figures are revealed in the ‘Data privacy: What the consumer really thinks’ report from the DMA and Acxiom, commissioned for the third time since 2012, to explore the views of UK consumers towards data collection and privacy during this key period in the run-up to GDPR.

“GDPR comes into force in May and our research shows that consumer attitudes are already changing in a way that makes us optimistic,” said Chris Combemale, Group CEO of the DMA. “GDPR establishes a level of transparency and honesty about how data is collected and used, which will be essential to continuing to build and maintain trust between businesses and consumers. This trust is central to data exchange and showing the value to both the business looking to prosper, and the customer looking to benefit.”

The research reveals an important change in attitudes is underway, with more than half (51%) of the respondents viewing data as essential to the smooth running of the modern economy, up sharply from 38% in 2012. This is mirrored the continued rise of consumers who appear relatively unconcerned about matters of data privacy and the exchange of data, which has increased from 16% to 25% this year. Younger respondents were even more relaxed about privacy and readier to share data, with 38% falling into this ‘Data Unconcerned’ group.

“It is good to see consumers taking data privacy seriously, though it’s important to understand, they do vary in terms of how they view this subject,” said Jed Mole, European Marketing Director at Acxiom. “The clear trend is towards greater real-life acceptance of data exchange as part and parcel of everyday life. This is good news for marketers who believe in data ethics and adopt the highest standards in data-driven marketing. Using data to drive more transparent value, treating people as individuals while giving them control especially as we enter the GDPR era, is key to achieving the win-win businesses and consumers really want.”

The proportion of people who are ‘Data Pragmatists’ has remained broadly static at around half of the UK population (50%), with these consumers willing exchange their personal information in exchange for clear benefit or enhancement of services. The survey found greater willingness among young respondents to view data as a tradeable asset that they can use to negotiate better prices and offers. More than six-out-of-ten (61%) in the 18-24 age group viewed their data in this way, compared with 56% among all respondents.

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