UK consumers rank top contributors to personal data

Over 2,000 consumers in the UK were surveyed in May 2012 in order to reveal their attitudes and behaviours when it comes to sharing personal data with businesses, the findings revealed that:

  • Only 35 per cent of UK adults trust businesses to use their personal data as directed by them.
  • This could have been triggered by the fact that 30 per cent feel they have had their data exploited by companies in the past, either by it being passed to a third party without their permission, or information being used to discriminate against them etc.
  • The mistrust of how companies use personal data is so rife that 46 per cent believe that sharing their personal data gives businesses the opportunity to invade their privacy.

The research also revealed a step change in consumer attitudes, with the emergence of a younger, more data-savvy, generation, who are intrigued by what their data can do for them:

  • 59 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds and 48 per cent of 25 to 34 year olds agreed that if businesses provided clearer explanations of why they wanted their personal data, and what it will be used for, they would be more inclined to give it to them.
  • Further to that, almost one in ten of the younger generation (those aged 18 to 34) felt that the more personal information they provide a business with, the better the service they receive as a result.

Four times as many 18 to 34 year olds than those aged 45 and over would log in to websites using their Facebook log in details without an incentive, and more than three times the amount would do so if incentivised with a discount or offer. Younger UK consumers also revealed how comfortable they are providing personal information that will be used by organisations to tailor future offers and communication.

Over one in three of that generation (those aged 18 to 34) said they are comfortable with this, whilst those aged 45 and over are unconvinced, with more than two thirds uncomfortable about this practice amongst businesses compared to 53 per cent of those aged 18 to 34.

“There is clearly a trust issue over data in the UK, which could easily be addressed through better communication. Consumers want to know what their personal data will be used for and how the privacy of that information will be upheld,” said Chris Boorman, chief marketing officer and senior vice president of Enablement and Informatica University, Informatica. “The younger generation is spot on: they feed the likes of Facebook and search engine histories with more information about themselves than any other sources. With this in mind there’s an opportunity here for organisations to be more transparent with consumers when it comes to how they plan to use their personal information and what’s in it for the consumer. Achieve this, and companies can forge stronger relationships with their customers.”

When questioned about which organisations from a given list they trusted not to share their personal information with third parties, UK consumers placed their highest confidence in the following individuals and organisations:

  • The family doctor, with 61 per cent trusting that they wouldn’t share their information with a third party.
  • Banks came in at second place, gaining 50 per cent of consumer trust.
  • Mobile operators garnered 20 per cent.
  • Utility firms 19 per cent.
  • Child care providers came in at 15 per cent, and
  • Estate agents and Facebook gained the lowest score with 13 per cent respectively.