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Nine out of ten people in the dark over data use, survey shows

Published 27/09/2016

Consumers are reluctant to share personal information because of doubts over how it will be used, a study shows
Consumers are reluctant to share personal information because of doubts over how it will be used, a study shows

More than nine out of 10 consumers do not fully understand where and how companies use their personal information and data, a survey has found.

The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) study of 2,500 people found 57% did not trust an organisation to use their data responsibly.

It revealed 51% had received communications from organisations they felt had misused their data, with 17% claiming it happened regularly.

Chris Daly, chief executive of CMI, said: " Customer data is essential for marketers to reach the right audience and meet customers' needs and interests.

"Yet our report shows that people are nervous about sharing personal data - fears of data breaches and misuse has them on high alert.

"And with two-thirds (68%) of marketers confessing to limiting sharing their own data as a consumer because they know how organisations will use it, this is extremely worrying.

"However, two-thirds (67%) of customers actually say they would share more personal information if organisations were more open about how they will use it.

"So, the solution is clear, marketers need to brush up on the rules, demonstrate clearly the value-add personal data offers in delivering a more personalised experience and ultimately reduce the fear by being open throughout the process.

"Otherwise, marketers risk alienating their customers - and that benefits no-one."

The research found 92% did not fully understand where and how marketers, brands and organisations used their personal information and data.

Nearly a third (31%) have no idea how and where it is being used.

Most consumers (70%) do not see the benefit of sharing their personal data at all.

Almost half said they would stop using an organisation if they discovered it was using their data in a way they did not feel comfortable with.

A third of consumers believe the rules of how brands use personal data need to be stricter.

They feel most uncomfortable sharing their real-time location, information from social media platforms and their personal phone number.

However, 44% of marketing professionals collect personal data from social media platforms and 20% from geo-location tracking.

Aside from cybercrime and online fraud, the study found consumers were most concerned about being unable to control who held their data.

Other worries include their details being used to send physical or online junk mail or spam and unwanted social media advertising appearing on their social feeds.

Only 16% admit to always reading the available terms and conditions before providing their personal data.

And 27% say they do not know their data protection rights as a consumer.

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