Survey: 58% will share personal data under the right circumstances
Another day, another survey on consumer privacy. And like many of the others, a new survey (.pdf) from Acxiom and trade group DMA seeks to put a positive spin on mixed results.
The big takeaway is that most US consumers are so-called “data pragmatists” who will trade personal information for certain incentives or benefits under the right circumstances. This is more true for millennials than other groups.
The finding is nothing new and is consistent with many dozens of similar surveys that have been conducted over roughly a decade. What’s new here is the context; it comes in the wake of data breaches and scandals (see Cambridge Analytica) and the recent implementation of GDPR.
As mentioned, marketers and ad purveyors can take some comfort in the finding that a majority of Americans are either “unconcerned” (18 percent) or “pragmatists” (58 percent) when it comes to use of their personal data. Only 24 percent are “fundamentalists,” defined as those “unwilling to provide personal information even in return for service enhancement.”
Pragmatists are defined as a group that “will make trade-offs on a case-by-case basis as to whether the service or enhancement of service offered is worth the information requested.” The most basic example is someone willing to share location for map directions. There’s a clear value exchange. Another example is someone willing to provide an email address to receive a 10-percent-off coupon or to gain early access to sales information on a retail website.
The survey also found that respondents were more aware that their data were being collected than in previous years. This is a neutral finding. However, there appeared to be a general openness to “data sharing”:
- 62 percent of American consumers believe that sharing data and personal information online is part of the modern economy.
- Just over two in five consumers in the United States agree that sharing data is essential for the smooth running of society.
- Just over half of consumers indicate that they are happy with the amount of personal data they provide to companies these days.
All these numbers are higher for millennials.
The finding immediately above — about consumers’ comfort level with data sharing — is reflective of the subjective, half-full/half-empty nature of this discussion. Depending on your spin, “less than 50 percent” or “nearly 50 percent” of consumers were more comfortable sharing more data today than they were in the past.