A new research by Gigya, a provider of Customer Identity Management platform, polled more than 4,000 U.S. and U.K. adults to bring to light widespread concern about brands’ approach to data privacy. The study revealed that a large proportion of consumers do not vest their trust on the government to secure their private data.
Furthermore, 69 percent of the respondents were worried about security and privacy risks inherent in the increasing adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, such as fitness trackers, smart watches and connected cars. Another 68 percent of consumers are concerned about how brands use their personal data.
For brands, the findings highlight an impending crisis as they balance customer expectations and new privacy requirements with their need for customer data to deliver a more personalized online experience. Gigya believes that this dilemma will come to a head when the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) becomes reality in May 2018, as brands will then face new hurdles in presenting and protecting their European consumers’ data.
“There is looming disconnect for brands if they don’t respond more aggressively to consumer demand for privacy and protection of their data,” said Jason Rose, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Gigya.
“Brands that put consumers in control of their privacy and deploy platforms that strengthen consumer data security will ultimately gain consumer trust. These brands will overcome the personalization-privacy disconnect and deliver on the full promise of their online strategies,” he added.
The good news for brands is that consumers are ready and willing to take responsibility for their personal data, if given the chance to do so. Some 63 percent of consumers feel personally accountable for protecting their data vs. relying on brands or governments.
Yet consumers don’t believe brands are paying attention, with 31 percent of respondents saying brand privacy policies are weaker now than they were 12 months ago. Despite this sentiment, we still see poor password habits, with 42 percent of consumers using four or fewer passwords across online accounts. This underscores the need for brands to find new ways to protect their customers from their own poor habits.
When brands do adopt best practices, consumers take notice. The report justified this by taking Facebook as an example. Since implementing a transparent approach to privacy about two years ago, Facebook has added 467 million new users, for a total of 1.86 billion users at the end of 2016.
Gigya’s survey results show that of total respondents with Facebook accounts, 61 percent have taken control of their privacy settings on Facebook, 40 percent have changed their settings within the past year and 21 percent have changed them at some point more than 12 months ago. An additional 23 percent are aware they can make changes to their privacy settings while relying on Facebook’s default settings, confirming that control over privacy is important to consumers.