Preying on user privacy: 1 in 5 consumers has avoided buying a brand over its data practices

by | Jan 29, 2021 | Public Relations

From websites to wearables, today’s companies are collecting richer data on their users than ever before—and promising to deliver more convenient, personalized, and cost-effective experiences in return. But many consumers are skeptical, according to a survey by The Conference Board in collaboration with Nielsen.

In the survey of more than 30,000 consumers across 63 global markets, over 20 percent of respondents report having reduced or abandoned their use of a brand or company due to data privacy concerns. Moreover, 19 percent report having switched to or selected a competitor company for its better data policies.

“Overall, the results suggest a need—and opportunity—for companies to overcome consumers’ skepticism and relieve their anxiety,” said Denise Dahlhoff, senior researcher at The Conference Board, in a news release. “Consumers’ digital engagement has skyrocketed during the pandemic, making transparency about data practices more important than ever before.”

The report detailing the findings, Consumers’ Attitudes about Data Practices, captures consumers’ perceptions, preferences, and behaviors when it comes to companies’ practices regarding the collection and usage of personal data.

Preying on user privacy: 1 in 5 consumers has avoided buying a brand over its data practices

Additional findings include:

Globally, just half of consumers are confident they would recognize “fake news”

  • In the US, 47 percent agree or strongly agree that they would be able to spot fabricated videos, pictures, and news items.
  • That proportion falls to 37 percent in Africa & the Middle East, whereas 54 percent of Asia-Pacific consumers are convinced of their ability to discern fake content.

Worldwide, nearly half of consumers don’t believe customized content is worth being tracked by companies

  • 44 percent of consumers globally would be willing to forego customized content—such as personalized messages, offers and experiences—in exchange for not having their personal data collected.
  • US consumers are especially reticent: Over 57 percent would give up customization for greater privacy.

Globally, consumers mostly prefer government-run agencies as the entity to oversee data privacy

  • However, for consumers in North America and Latin America, private consumer advocacy groups are as popular as government-run consumer protection agencies.

Download the full report here.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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