Survey Shows Consumers Very Willing To Trade Personal Data for Financial Benefits
While 70% want businesses to ask before sharing personal details with partners, barely half try to limit data tracking and protect privacy, says Genesys-sponsored customer experience survey
SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 5, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Consumers say they are deeply concerned about the privacy of their personal data, yet have come to appreciate the benefits of sharing it and are not making it hard for businesses to gather it. These findings come from an opinion survey on data personalization, privacy and trust sponsored by Genesys®, the global leader in cloud customer experience and contact center solutions. The survey gathered responses from 5,000 adults in six countries: Australia, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom (U.K.) and the United States (U.S.).
Despite recent consumer protection regulations, 91% of survey respondents worry about the potential abuse of their personal data, with 46% saying their concern has grown over the last five years. Nearly three-quarters (70%) say it’s unacceptable for businesses to share customer details with partner vendors without first securing permission.
Yet consumer behavior often contradicts the survey respondents’ claims of anxiety. Companies see their customers willing to trade their personal information for certain benefits or rewards.
"Many consumers are sharing their personal data without full awareness of how it will be used," said Janelle Dieken, senior vice president for solutions and product marketing at Genesys. "While they don’t like the idea of data-sharing in theory, they recognize there are practical benefits to doing so – like highly personalized interactions. Companies need to make sure they clearly explain those benefits and tradeoffs in terms of privacy in order to preserve customer trust and loyalty."
Big data, big dollars
Consumers recognize their personal data has financial value—to the point where many want in on the action. Thirty-nine percent like the idea of monetary compensation from a company for sharing their personal data, although 20% say they most value product discounts. Older generations in particular — 46% of Boomers compared to just 29% of Gen Z — are interested in financial compensation. Gen Z says they value greater convenience in using services (20%) and more responsive customer service and support (18%) in exchange for sharing their personal data with a company.
But when confronted with the choice of saving time, money, or protecting their privacy, the survey pool was torn about what they value most. Money is at the top of the list with 42% saying they register for club card benefits even though they know the business probably shares data with partners. But another 40% say they value privacy above all, as they do not trust businesses to keep their personal data safe.
Protecting people and property
People are also aware that certain data from the internet-connected devices they own and services for which they sign up may be shared even without specific approval. In general, the survey respondents are more comfortable if the data is doled out for physical security protection. For example, at the top of the list are smoke detectors or thermostats that provide readings to the fire department (38%), door and window alarms that notify the police or external security vendor (34%), or external or doorbell cameras that share video recordings with the police (31%).
People are the least comfortable (17%) with the idea of DNA analysis providers providing data to medical researchers. Moreover, a full third (34%) of respondents aren’t comfortable having internet-connected devices share any data.
Worth the risk
Privacy issues around third-party accumulation of personal data have grabbed headlines in recent years. Yet just over half (53%) of those surveyed say they take common steps to halt the tracking of their personal data — for example, opting out or disabling "cookie" collection software.
Within the survey pool, 91% claim to read privacy statements sent by companies such as banks and insurance providers that tell consumers precisely how their data will be used. However, only 20% of survey respondents say they review the privacy statements "all the time" while 28% rarely do.
A whopping 81% allow smartphone apps to access their location data, but only 16% automatically grant access to every request. Digital natives are especially willing to share their location data, with an overwhelming 88% of Gen Z and 90% of Millennials allowing access for at least some apps.
Below are some additional highlights from the survey conducted in the U.S.:
U.S. respondents are the most matter-of-fact among the six countries about sharing data, with 37% accepting the idea that businesses provide it to like-minded vendor partners even if the customer has not given explicit permission. This compares to only 23% of New Zealand survey participants. However, there is a gender and generational difference in this attitude, with 42% of U.S. men agreeing that it’s fine, compared to 32% of women. Meanwhile, 75% of Boomers disagree!
At the same time, Americans are the most troubled among the six countries at the potential abuse of their data, with 41% saying they are "very concerned" compared to only 22% of Japanese respondents. They’ve also seen a greater change in anxiety, with 59% growing more concerned today than five years ago, compared to 29% in Japan.
In the U.S., 96% of Gen X is particularly anxious about potential abuse of data, with 52% saying they are "very concerned." This compares to the somewhat more relaxed attitude of Gen Z. While 85% do worry, only 27% are "very concerned."
Rather surprisingly, U.S. Boomers are the least likely (13%) among the four generational groups surveyed to say they read privacy statements "all the time" compared to a high of 33% among Gen X.
Among American Boomers, 29% are unaware they could be sacrificing their privacy when playing social media games or taking online personality quizzes. This compares to only 12% of Millennials. In fact, 44% of Millennials in the survey are okay with their data being harvested by these games, compared to only 16% of Boomers.
Download the slide deck with the multinational data for more insights from the Genesys survey. Press and analysts may request a copy of each country’s survey findings from the Genesys media relations team. For the U.S., contact email@example.com.
The online survey was conducted by Wakefield Research in April 2020. Participants were 5,000 adults ages 18 and up, balanced by gender, with 1,000 in the U.S., and 800 each in Australia, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, and the U.K. The margin of error for the multi-country audience is +/- 1.4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.
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