Consumers wise up to how firms exploit their information

DataIQ News

UK consumers have finally woken up to how some companies are exploiting their personal information for profit with a new study showing that over two-thirds (69%) of Britons have actively taken steps to avoid sharing personal data, from creating secondary emails to providing fake information.

Over half (52%) of respondents to Kantar TNS's survey of 1,227 demographically representative British adults have avoided signing up to a service altogether to avoid having to share their data, while over a quarter (27%) have created a secondary or temporary email address.  Meanwhile, nearly one in five respondents (19%) have provided false details to access a service.

When asked to provide personal data, older people are more likely to be put off engaging with businesses altogether – 64% of 55-to 64-year-olds have avoided signing up to services for this reason, in contrast to the national average (52%).

Younger generations are much more likely to use alternative methods such as falsifying details or using private browsing modes to avoid their Internet habits being tracked.

Meanwhile, women are more likely than men to stop engaging with organisations who request data they are unwilling to share (60% vs 44%).  Men instead opt to circumvent the problem, with higher rates of private browsing, giving false details and giving secondary email addresses.

Kantar TNS head of offer and innovation Phil Sutcliffe beleives that GDPR should go a long way to helping brands create a more positive data relationship with their customers, insisting it is  a real opportunity to establish that the are trustworthy and transparent.

However, he warns: "Businesses need to be realistic about current attitudes to sharing personal information, so they shouldn't think their work is done come May 25.  A significant part of the population is opting out of brand engagement entirely because they're being asked to share too much personal information.  Companies need to think carefully about whether a less is more approach could actually be more valuable, or they could run the risk of losing customers altogether.

"The public is wising up to what they can demand from brands; if organisations aren't explicit about how they plan to use personal data, there's a chance that they could lose out on valuable information that can help them deliver better services, products or customer experiences."