According to the Customer State of Mind Survey, published by insight tech firm Trūata, nearly three-quarters (71%) of Internet users are worried their personal data could be used to commit fraud against them if stolen in a data breach, while three-fifths (60%) of consumers are uneasy about companies using their personal data for analytics.
And this can have a big impact on brands; only 17% of customers would trust a firm with their personal data if that company had been found to have misused customer data; another one in the eye for BA and Marriott.
However, confidence rises when customers know that their data has been anonymised, removing all identifiable information from data-sets. More than half (55%) of consumers born after 1979 say they would be willing to share more of their personal data with companies, on the condition of total anonymity.
This level of transparency and responsibility with data is critical for companies seeking to inspire trust in their relationships with customers. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of online shoppers are more likely to be loyal to a company if they trust them to use their data properly, while almost half (48%) say they would actually spend more money with a company if they feel their data is protected.
This connection between trust with data and willingness to spend more is most pronounced with younger customers – more than half (54%) of those aged under 26 would spend more money with companies whom they trust with their personal data.
Trūata chief executive Felix Marx said: "This erosion of customer trust in businesses, brands and institutions needs tackling now. Reputational damage can happen in an instant but will take significant time and resource to recover from.
"Data can be the driver of growth and innovation. But we need to strike a balance between data utility and customer privacy. The future belongs to brands which operate with integrity and find a way to unlock the potential of their data without compromising privacy."
The UK Information Commissioner’s Office revealed last month that it intends to fine British Airways and Marriott Hotels a combined £282m for serious breaches of GDPR. Both companies said they would defend themselves against any penalty.