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Consumers will reward companies with good data protection - and they'll punish those without it

28 May 2018

Consumers across the world are wary about organisations’ ability to safeguard their personal data, with 37% believing most businesses just don’t know how to do it.

The 2018 Veritas Global Data Privacy Consumer Study found that as more companies suffer breaches and hackers stay one step ahead, consumers are sceptical about the companies they deal with.

The survey of 12,500 people in 14 countries found that consumers intend to reward organisations that properly protect their data, but they will also take bold steps to penalise organisations that don’t protect data.

Consumers are more than happy to reward businesses that properly protect their data.

53% of respondents say they would spend more money with trusted organisations, with 22% saying they would spend up to 25% more with a business that takes data protection seriously.

Ninety percent of respondents are concerned about their information, and 39% have no visibility into how their data is being used. 22% are concerned that their personal data would be stolen.

Overall, 63% say they would stop buying from a business that fails to protect their data; and 76% would report that company to regulators.

64% say they would post negative comments online about the business, and 82% would tell their friends and family to boycott the business. 46% would abandon the organisation and do business with a competitor.

Consumers say they would not consent to sharing certain types of data, including details about personal finance, online habits, location, health/medical records, sexual orientation, and religious preferences.

According to Veritas senior director and global privacy lead Tamzin Evershed, consumers have lost trust in business due in part to breaches where firms have shown they don’t understand how their consumer data is held or shared.

“As consumers demand more transparency and accountability from businesses, the ‘new norm’ will see consumers rewarding those organisations that have good data hygiene practices in place while punishing those that don't. Businesses must be seen as trusted custodians of data if they want to reap the rewards associated with building consumer confidence.” 

Evershed says that organisations need to provide customers much more reassurance about what data they hold, how it is shared, and how it is used.

“This could have significant implications for businesses that rely on collecting consumer data to provide intelligent and targeted services, such as location-based apps. The most successful companies will be those that are able to demonstrate that they are managing and protecting personal data in a compliant way across the board.”

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