Suspicious Minds: U.S. Consumers Less Likely To Share Email Addresses

The U.S., that hotbed of digital advertising, has less trusting citizens than many other countries.

Only 71% of Yankee shoppers will share personal data with firms within their borders, compared to 89% in Russia and 90% in China.

And only 44% of the U.S. respondents will provide information with companies located in other countries. Again, the U.S. is topped by China (86%), Singapore (78%) and most nations in Latin America.

Yet the U.S. ranks high in the belief that firms will protect consumers in a criminal investigations.

These are among the findings of “The Dating Game: Love and Loss in the Modern era,” a SAP Hybris study that seems, in its title, to equate romance with brand loyalty. SAP Hybris, a provider of commerce and content management software, surveyed 20,000 people in 20 countries around the world to track consumer love and trust for brands.

The survey shows that consumers in Western Europe are also a suspicious lot. Only 66% in the UK and Germany will give up personal data at home. And 40% in the UK and 50% in Germany will do so with firms in other lands.



Drilling down, only 52% in the U.S. will supply their email address to companies. The only countries with lower percentages are Japan (32%) and the Netherlands (37%). Western Europeans are also reluctant.

In contrast, 68% will do so in India, 63% in Australia, 63% in Singapore, and 62% in Russia.

And those in the West are less likely to share their shopping history and preferences. Only 37% will do so in the U.S., 37% in France, 35% in the UK and 20% in Germany.

In contrast, 55% will share that data in Brazil, and the same percentage in Korea. Thailand, Singapore, India and Mexico are also over 50%.

Why this disparity between nations?

“The results point to a difference between those in developing countries and their developed counterparts: consumers in the developing world are happier to provide their email addresses,” the study states.  

It adds that “an average of 61% of those surveyed in Brazil, Mexico, Thailand, India and China are willing to share email addresses, compared to an average of 54% of consumers in the US, Canada, France, UK, Germany, Singapore, Japan and Australia.”

Shoppers in the developed world are also more stingy with their mobile numbers. Only 25% will share them in the U.S., along with 24% in Canada, 22% in Germany, 14% in the UK and 11% in Japan.

Turn to parts of Asia and South America and the picture changes, although not by as much of a gap as with other data points.

Let’s say consumers do give you their data: Your customer service arm better be functioning. Consumers who reach out expect a response within 24 hours, and that’s true around the globe — in Colombia (96%), China (94%), France (89%) the UK (87%) and the U.S (87%).

And not all will trust you with their data. Although 72% in the U.S. believe firms will protect their personal information, Russia has a better score (84%), as do Singapore, Germany and the UK. 

Shoppers in developed countries are more prone to expect brands to be transparent when sharing data with partners: the UK tops the list with 75% saying yes, followed by Australia (67%), Canada (67%), Singapore (67%) and the U.S. (66%).

And here are some pertinent stats, given Microsoft’s case before the Supreme Court. Asked if they expect firms to protect their privacy in a criminal investigation, respondents answered this way: 

  • Singapore — 61%
  • U.S. — 60%
  • Canards — 60%
  • UK — 57%
  • Australia — 56%
  • Poland —53%
  • UAE — 51%
  • KSA — 50%
  • India — 50%
  • Netherlands — 47%
  • Thailand — 45%
  • Korea — 44%
  • Russia — 43%
  • China — 41%
  • Germany — 41%

Meanwhile, the study found that over half of the world’s population now uses smartphones and over half are online.

Add it all up, and there are two main takeaways.

“First, consumers expect companies to be transparent about how they use their data, and not to abuse their trust,” SAP Hybris writes. “Second, consumers expect to be rewarded for sharing their data through giveaways and rewards, as well as high-level and contextual customer service.”


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