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Survey Shows Consumers Very Willing to Trade Personal Data for Financial Benefits

Consumers say they are deeply concerned about the privacy of their personal data, yet have…

  • September 15, 2020

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, a specialist 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.

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.