Global consumers believe that brands need to do more to protect their data privacy

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Data privacy is at the forefront of consumer consciousness across the globe, with 76% of global consumers believing that brands need to do more to protect their data and over 6-in-10 (62%) agreeing it is now a key differentiator when choosing to engage with a brand or product.

This is according to the Global Consumer State of Mind Report 2021, an annual benchmark report produced by Trūata, the privacy-enhanced data analytics solutions provider.

Just as sustainability became an influencing factor in purchasing intentions in recent years, triggering a widespread reassessment of brand values, privacy is set to do the same as consumers align themselves with brands who demonstrate responsible and transparent data practices. Trūata’s latest report, which captures the views of 8,000 consumers across the UK, France, Brazil, South Korea and the USA, provides a global insight into the trends and trajectories surrounding the sentiments of consumers from all walks of life and reveals that embracing a privacy-first mindset is key to establishing and retaining long term customer loyalty.

Seeking more than regulatory compliance, digitally-savvy consumers are now calling for the introduction of privacy certifications, with 62% globally stating they would feel more reassured and more likely to buy from a brand if it was officially certified according to a data privacy standard (for example, a Kitemark in the UK). This statistic rises to 63% in the UK, 64% in South Korea and jumps to 71% in Brazil, where the desire for regulatory action is felt most by consumers.

Interestingly, 65% of global consumers are more willing to engage and shop with brands that tell them exactly what they will do with their data, and 60% agree that they would spend more money with a brand that they trust with their personal data. There is also a clear correlation between consumer privacy and consumer loyalty, with just over two-thirds of UK consumers (67%) agreeing that they would stop using or buying from brands if they don’t demonstrate that they care about responsible data use.

Felix Marx, CEO, Trūata, said: “Accelerated digital transformation has led to heightened awareness around data privacy and driven new behaviours from privacy-conscious consumers. Our report signals the need for brands to attune themselves with the evolving privacy landscape and prioritise strategies that will appease the rising demands of consumers all over the world – without compromising on commercial growth.

“The opportunity to gain a competitive advantage sits with intuitive leaders who step ahead with this consumer foresight. There’s an emerging market for solutions that can assist with providing the privacy assurances consumers are demanding, and forward-thinking organisations are tapping into privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs) to gain ground at pace.”

Over the past twelve months, privacy has been thrust into the spotlight due to growing concerns over the expansion of digital footprints triggered by the COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns that forced much of everyday life online.  The report found that almost two-thirds (64%) of global consumers have increased their use of tech since the pandemic began (a statistic that increases to 67% in the USA and 79% in Brazil), with almost 1-in-2 respondents (47%) using apps and tech solutions that they wouldn’t have previously used due to data privacy concerns.

Additionally, nearly half of global consumers (48%) admit they have lost control over how much data is stored about them and 56% have expressed concerns over losing track of their digital selves entirely. With more awareness of over how their data is being used – or misused as the case may be – consumers across the globe are now seeking to regain control over their data, with more than three-quarters (77%) of global consumers stating that they have already taken steps to reduce their digital footprint, including rejecting or disabling cookies on a website (38% globally) to unsubscribing from email lists (36% globally).

The value that consumers now place on privacy in a digital world is only set to be reinforced over the coming months and years. With just over 6-in-10 global consumers (62%) agreeing that in two years’ time their data privacy will be more important to them than it is now, and almost three-quarters (74%) of global consumers calling for stronger transparency around data governance, specifically from brands.

Marx added: “The COVID-19 pandemic has revolutionized the way we live, the way businesses operate and the way global society functions. With so much of life happening online, questions around safety and security have naturally come to the fore, triggering a tipping point for trust and digital privacy, which is highlighted by the findings in this year’s Global Consumer State of Mind Report. Having felt a loss of control, consumers are now seeking backtrack and retrace their steps to reclaim ownership and ensure the protection of their digital selves.”

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