Industry News

Survey identifies three types of consumer attitudes to data privacy

Leveraging customer data is the lifeblood of today’s digital economy, but regulations like the EU’s GDPR threaten to make it difficult to mine this precious “ore.” Businesses still have a few options at their disposal, if they are to continue to sell their services – and stay competitive.

A poll of 11,474 consumers commissioned by market intelligence consortium DMA has revealed that 51% are more than happy to hand over their personal data to businesses that can offer a clear benefit in exchange.

The report – Global data privacy: What the consumer really thinks – places these 51% into a category called “data pragmatists,” a group described as those who exchange their data as long as there’s a clear benefit.

Another important demographic is the “data unconcerned” (26%), described by the surveyors as those who do not mind how and why their data is used. The remaining 23% are the so-called “data fundamentalists,” or those who never share their data for any reason.

Countries with the most data pragmatists include Spain (59%), USA (58%) and Singapore (57%), while data fundamentalists are mostly found in Australia (27%), The Netherlands (26%), and Germany (26%). However, these countries also house a sizeable proportion of data-unconcerned folk (Netherlands 35%, Germany 34%, Argentina 29%).

“We are in a new era of data privacy,” said Chris Combemale, Group CEO of DMA. “Questions have been raised about whether major data breaches and increased talk about the value of our personal data is impacting consumer anxiety over how their information is used. In fact, our research shows that even though consumers are more aware than ever and have concerns about their online privacy, the majority will continue to share their personal information if they trust the organisation and gain something in return.”

Respondents further revealed that they place great importance on transparency (86%), simple terms and conditions that they can properly interpret and understand (84%), and flexible privacy policies (82%).

On a global level, 83% of consumers would like more control over their data, and 49% named “trust” as the most important factor when deciding whether to hand over their data to an organization.

“Globally, the majority of consumers are pragmatists – willing to share their data so long as there is a benefit. Trading data is a common desire amongst consumers and data as a commodity will become more important for companies in the years to come,” reads the report. “However, ensuring that your organization is transparent, with its customers in how data is used and stored, together with putting them in control of their own data, is key to building trust with consumers and making them comfortable with data sharing. This can build a solid platform for the future of data economy, bringing benefit to consumers and businesses alike.”

About the author


Filip is an experienced writer with over a decade of practice in the technology realm. He has covered a wide range of topics in such industries as gaming, software, hardware and cyber-security, and has worked in various B2B and B2C marketing roles. Filip currently serves as Information Security Analyst with Bitdefender.