ResearchHG Insights bring you the key takeaways from the Data Privacy & Security Survey 2019 which reveals the growing disconnect between how companies capitalize on customer data and how consumers expect their data to be used.

Consumer backlash in response to the numerous high-profile data breaches in recent years has exposed one of the hidden risks of digital transformation – loss of customer trust. RSA’s Data Privacy & Security Survey 2019 explores the nuances of ethical data use, shedding light on consumer perceptions of data privacy.

According to the study, which surveyed more than 6,000 adults across France, Germany, the United Kingdom and United States, less than half (48 percent) of consumers believe there are ethical ways companies can use their data, and 57 percent blame companies above anyone else, even a hacker, in the event of a data incident. Despite the fact that consumers harbor heightened concerns about their privacy, they continue to exhibit poor cyber hygiene, with 73 percent of users admitting that they reuse the same passwords across many sites, leaving them more vulnerable.

Data privacy expectations

Key takeaways from the study, include:

  • Context matters: Individuals across all demographics are concerned about their financial/banking data, as well as sensitive information such as passwords, but other areas of concern vary dramatically by generation, nationality and even gender. For example, younger demographics are more comfortable with their data being used and collected than older survey respondents.
  • Privacy expectations are cultural: Consumers respond to data privacy differently based on their nationality due to cultural factors, current events and high-profile data breaches in their respective countries. For example, in the months of the GDPR being implemented, German attitudes shifted in favor of stricter data privacy expectations, with 42 percent wanting to protect location data in 2018 versus only 29 percent in 2017.
  • Personalization remains a puzzle: Countless studies have demonstrated that personalized experiences increase user activity and purchasing. However, the survey results showed that respondents do not want personalized services at the expense of their privacy. In fact, a mere 17 percent of respondents view tailored advertisements as ethical, and only 24 percent believe personalization to create tailored news feeds is ethical.

Evaluate digital risks

“With a growing number of high-profile data breaches, questions around the ethical use of data and privacy missteps, consumers increasingly want to know how their data is being collected, managed and shared,” said Nigel Ng, Vice President of International Sales, RSA. “Now is the time for organizations to evaluate their growing digital risks, doubling down on customer privacy and security. Today’s leaders must be vigilant about transforming their cybersecurity postures to manage today’s digital risks in a way that ensures consumer trust and confidence in their business.”

“RSA’s survey reaffirms why against the backdrop of increasing security risks, increased privacy regulation and declining consumer sentiment, information security is at the top of every organizations risk register today,” said Tim Royston-Webb, Executive Vice President of Strategy, HG Insights. “Data security risks extend way beyond brand and direct customer revenue, with risks to trading relationships, internal systems and regulatory requirements a real concern for today’s organizations.”

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