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74% of UK consumers concerned about sharing personal data, as calls for data transparency grow

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A new global study from ESOMAR and HERE Technologies, along with research partners BuzzBack Research, and Cint, has revealed that 74% of UK consumers are concerned about sharing their personal data, and less than 1 in 10 say that they aren’t. 

The study, which surveyed over 10,000 consumers in 10 markets, found that 37% of consumers in the UK would be far more likely to trust companies if they were completely transparent with how they handle their data. While over a third stated they would be more likely to buy products or services, or use mobile applications. 

Levels of concern about sharing personal data are high. For some, the concerns and more heightened and specific. A third of UK consumers are nervous about suffering burglaries or physical harm if they share their location data digitally. While a third of people also feel vulnerable and stressed when sharing any personal data.  

While an overwhelming majority of consumers (86%) accept that it is their own responsibility to be aware of who they’re sharing data with, most don’t feel equipped to fulfil that responsibility. More than 3 out of 4 UK consumers agree that it’s “difficult to find information about how best to protect my privacy” – a score that was relatively consistent across the globe. Additionally, 89% of people in the UK feel government legislation is essential for protecting against the misuse of personal data, yet only 28% agree that current laws and regulations ensure that no misuse of personal data occurs.

However, consumers have been shown to be receptive to companies who value data transparency. Three out of four consumers in the UK stated they would be very likely to share personal data if they understood that their personal data is being stored safely and securely, while the same amount are very likely to share personal data if the data collector is clear about why their personal data is needed and how it will be used. Most importantly for brands 72% of Brits are more likely to share their personal data if the data collector is trusted and reputable.

Of the study Finn Raben, director general of ESOMAR, said, “In the UK almost two thirds of people have either had their emails or bank account hacked, their personal details leaked, or some other nefarious misuse of their personal data. 

People are understandably wary about sharing personal data, and this is compounded by a string of reports over the last 12 months of brands listening to and collecting personal data with almost zero transparency. What this study shows us is that it is possible to collect the data that businesses need to provide and improve offers and services, while at the same time respecting the consumer through ethical and transparent data practices. Not only can brands collect data, but they can improve trust and potentially boost revenue through transparency.”

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