Private Lives: U.S. Consumers Less Likely Than Asians To Share Data

Consumers worldwide are willing — even eager — to share information with brands. But it depends on the country.

Only 52% of Japanese shoppers will provide personal data, compared with 92% apiece in Colombia and India and 80% worldwide, according to a survey of 20,000 consumers by SAP Hybris.

The email address, that key identifier, is the detail they are most willing to surrender. But don’t think the U.S. leads in this — only 52% are willing to share it, compared with 68% in India, 66% in Korea, 62% in Russia and 60% in Canada. And only 53% of the French and 55% of Germans will comply with requests for email addresses.   

It’s the same with shopping history and preferences. Russians are most agreeable, with 64% expressing their willingness. India and Canada are tied for third, with 56% apiece. Only 37% in the U.S. say they will share it, compared with 37% in France and 20% in Germany.   

Why are the U.S. and Western Europe so reticent? Perhaps because they have been connected longer, and know more about how data is used, making them more wary about sharing. In addition, they are pounded almost daily with publicity about the privacy issue. But that’s just a guess. 

In general, 51% of the world’s population is now online, and over 50% now use a smartphone. Accordingly, 51% of web traffic comes from mobile phones, and 43% from laptops and desktops. 

However, people remain nervous about sharing their mobile numbers. India leads, with 52% willing to supply them, followed by the UAE (47%), Mexico (45%) and Korea (43%). In contrast, only 25% in the U.S. will hand over mobile numbers.

SAP also found that 71% of U.S. consumers are willing to share information locally, and 44% will do so internationally. But those numbers pale next to those of China, where 90% will share with local brands and 86% with ones in other countries.

Europe also lags in this regard, with only 66% in the UK willing to share locally, and 40% internationally. Germans are more willing to give information to firms in other countries. But in general, Europe lags behind Asia and Latin America. 

Consumers in the UAE are most willing to have their real-time location tracked, with 47% saying they are willing, compared with a global average of 32.3% 

Meanwhile, 43% of Thai citizens will reveal their monthly income, versus the global average of 23.8% and 6% in the UK. 

Whatever data they hand over, consumers expect firm to protect it. Eight out of ten will dump a brand if they find it has used their data without their knowledge.

Of those polled, 84% in Russia expect their data to be protected, compared with 72% in the U.S. High percentages also demand transparency. And many expect companies to protect their privacy in the event of a criminal investigation. Singapore is first in this, with 61%, and the U.S. second, with 60%. 

The takeaways from this research? One is that marketers need to embrace a customer-centric approach, and support it with scalable and agile cloud service, SAP says. 

Finally, consumers want quick service — almost all expect a call-back response within 24 hours. The percentages range from 96% in Colombia to 87% in the U.S. and 82% in Russia. You’ll have to satisfy them even if they haven’t told you much about themselves.


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