The seemingly endless stream of data breaches is not only making consumers more savvy over data security it is also triggering a major change in their behaviour, with more and more people leveraging their spending power to hold businesses to account.
According to figures provided by secure payments provider PCI Pal, 44% of Americans, 38% of Brits, 33% of Australians, and 37% of Canadians have been the victim of a data breach. As a result, consumers are increasingly aware that they are no longer adequately protected.
In the UK, PCI Pal found that 44% of consumers would stop spending with a business for several months in the immediate aftermath of a security breach, and 41% claim they would never return to a business post-breach.
Meanwhile, in the US, 83% of consumers claim they would stop spending with a business for several months in the immediate aftermath of a security breach, and over a fifth (21%) claim they would never return.
Whether it is adjusting how much they spend or deciding to avoid the company altogether for several months - or even forever - these figures represent significant potential revenue loss that many businesses may not be able to recover from, the report warns.
The findings suggest that a combination of recent high-profile data breaches in each region, the development of assorted laws and regulations to protect consumer data privacy (including GDPR and the the California Consumer Privacy Act and others), and personal experience have made security top-of-mind for consumers around the world.
The consumer-facing consequences of a data breach have resulted in consumers reconsidering the safety of common business practices in obtaining data.
Consumers in every region expressed concerns about having to read their credit card information over the phone, and many are only comfortable sharing information over the phone with certain companies that they trust.
In the UK, 55% of consumers are uncomfortable reading their credit card information over the phone and 44% are only comfortable sharing information over the phone to select companies that have earned their explicit trust.
In the US, over 40% of consumers are uncomfortable reading their credit card information over the phone and 58% of consumers are only comfortable sharing information over the phone.
Consumers also report that when it comes to trust in security practices, not all industries are created equal.
The results show that consumers trust the retail and travel industries the least, with 40% and 35% of UK consumers, 50% and 40% of Australian consumers, 65% and 41% of Canadian consumers , and 19% and 16.4% of US consumers rating these industries as the worst when it comes to security practices.
PCI Pal chief executive James Barham said: "With the ongoing introduction of new data privacy regulations around the world, companies face significant fines in the event of a breach.
"Our research, however, shows they may face an even bigger financial consequence in the aftermath of a breach, with the loss of customer loyalty and trust. To avoid such implications, companies should adequately prepare themselves for the increasing likelihood that a data breach will inevitably occur."