US Consumers Keep Personal Data Even From Trusted Cos; Privacy Concerns Up

September 20, 2012

American consumers willingly share some – but not all – personal information with companies they trust, according to [download page] September 2012 online survey findings from LoyaltyOne. 50% will share their religious affiliations, 49% their political affiliations and sexual orientation, and 42% their personal income. Yet just 24% will share their online browsing histories, and the same proportion would share their exact location via smartphone as would share their number of sexual partners (both at 15%). That is just 4 percentage points more than those would would share their social security numbers.

It is unclear from the report to what extent that 15% who would share their exact location via smartphone is affected by the smartphone adoption rate among the survey sample.

Location Data Comes At A Price

Data from LoyaltyOne’s “Customer Data: Privacy, Profit and the New Paradigm” suggests that as closely as they guard their locations, some consumers (American and Canadian) will do so willingly for incentives. 57% report being somewhat or very likely to provide their locations for a cash incentive, with other incentives influencing a minority: reward points (46%); relevant offers (33%); or a chance to win an iPad (28%).

To illustrate consumers’ sensitivity toward location, the researchers presented the US and Canadian respondents with several scenarios. 72% of respondents found it acceptable for a pharmacy to send offers to a person with diabetes who has joined the pharmacy’s health program and provided his or her health history. Just 27% find it acceptable to receive offers on their smartphones when they are near a retailer.

Roughly seven in 10 respondents said it is unacceptable to send baby food offers to someone who had purchased a pregnancy test, but 67% approve of a company sending free diaper samples to a woman who recently gave birth.

Trust On The Decline

Interestingly, in the case of sending diaper samples to a new mother, the proportion who find it acceptable is down 9% points from 2011. There are similar declines year-over-year in the percentage of Americans and Canadians who: feel companies use their personal information to provide better service (48% in 2012, down from 52% in 2011); are willing to exchange personal information for relevant products and services (63% vs. 67%); or for relevant information (61% vs. 64%).

Conversely, the percentage of respondents who feel they are not receiving a benefit for their personal information has risen from 74% to 78%.

According to the Q2 2012 TRUSTe Privacy Index, only 47% of American adults somewhat (38%) or strongly (9%) agree that they have complete trust that companies protect their information online.

Other Findings:

  • Per the LoyaltyOne survey, while 67% of Americans and Canadians who generally trust companies feel those companies use personal information to better serve them, just 33% of those who distrust companies feel the same.
  • 48% of those who trust companies believe their behavior is tracked when they use loyalty program cards, while 66% of those who distrust companies believe the same.
  • Canadians are considerably less likely than Americans to believe that companies exchange their personal information without permission (72% vs. 84%).
  • Canadians are generally more guarded than Americans about their political affiliations (30% vs. 49%) and sexual orientations (40% vs. 49%).

About The Data: The LoyaltyOne data is based on completed responses from a representative random sample of 1,000 US and 1,000 Canadian consumers to an online survey conducted June 4-18, 2012. Weights were applied by population size to create a blended US/Canadian total. Survey respondents included consumers 18 years of age and older who are primary or joint decision-makers regarding household purchases.

45th Parallel Design Ad

Explore More Charts.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This