Two-thirds of consumers don’t trust brands to keep their personal data safe

A new Gigya poll of 4,002 adults, spanning the UK and the US equally, has found that 68% of consumers don’t trust brands to keep their personal information secure.

It’s a worrying finding in light of the pending General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which comes into force next May. With an ‘opt-in’ mandate on the cards, this makes it critical that marketers restore consumer confidence in their ability to manage their personal data over the next 12 months. The alternative is a mass consumer ‘opt-out’ which could be catastrophic for digital marketers who have already invested time and money in building a personalised view of their customers.

As the infographic below by Gigya illustrates, recent political turmoil across both sides of the pond has further aggravated privacy concerns, with a mere 17% of UK consumers feeling their data will be more secure under Theresa May’s leadership.  This compares with 32% of US consumers who believe their personal information will be better protected under the Trump administration.

The rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), such as smartwatches and fitness trackers, is also creating cause for concern, with 69% of consumers worried about the associated security and privacy risks. Understandably, these anxieties increase with age, with 62% of 18- to 24-year-olds registering concern, and 72% of the 65-and-older group. It’s a finding that should resonate with retailers particularly, who hope to use the IoT to transform the shopping experience and link the online and physical worlds for consumers.

However, the good news for brands is that consumers are ready and willing to take responsibility for their personal data, if given the opportunity. Some 63% of consumers say they should be personally responsible for protecting their data versus relying on brands or governments. Just 19% of consumers believe brands should be accountable for this. However consumers don’t believe brands are paying attention, with 31% of respondents saying brand privacy policies are weaker now than they were 12 months ago.

Interestingly, the poll also reveals that consumers take note when a brand updates its privacy policy. For example, 61% of respondents have taken advantage of Facebook’s enhanced privacy controls (unveiled a couple of years ago) and have updated their security settings.

“There is looming disconnect for brands if they don’t respond more aggressively to consumer demand for privacy and protection of their data,” said Jason Rose, senior vice president of marketing at Gigya. “Brands that put consumers in control of their privacy and deploy platforms that strengthen consumer data security will ultimately gain consumer trust. These brands will overcome the personalisation-privacy disconnect and deliver on the full promise of their online strategies.”

With the new GDPR looming, it’s critical that marketers and businesses focus on rebuilding consumer trust in how their personal information is handled. The consumer-brand relationship stands to lose a lot, and companies need to be more forthright in explaining to customers how they handle and protect their information. The illustration below, produced by the ICO, offers a handy checklist for marketers, outlining key elements they need to be considering, in preparation for 2018.

 

The infographic below shows the core findings of the Gigya poll…

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