It's Not For You To Know: Consumers Loath To Share Personal Data, Study Shows

The idea that consumers crave personalized experiences — and will share personal data to get them — has been blown up by a new study from Episerver.

Of 4,028 shoppers surveyed globally, only 8% cite more relevant product offers as a lure to provide information. And over a fourth refuse to share data for any reason, as shown in this listing of persuading factors:

  • Nothing — 29%
  • Greater savings or better offers — 26%
  • Greater transparency into how information is stored and secured — 16%
  • Great transparency into who has access to the information — 13%
  • More relevant product recommendations — 8%
  • Greater transparency into how information is used to benefit me — 8%

In even worse news for personalization advocates, only 5% will abandon a website because the content wasn’t “personalized for me,” the study shows.

Those are among the highlights of one of three sometimes conflicting retail studies. Another shows that consumers do want individualized content — at least via email.



In that study, Dynamic Yield found that 62% of North American consumers will respond favorably to personalized emails, and that 82% will do so in Europe. Yet only 25% of North Americans feel email content is personalized for them.

Worldwide, consumers say they are getting too many emails anyway. Of 550 consumers polled in North America, Europe and Asia, 58% receive up to ten emails a day, and 38% open one or two. And 22% of consumers get 15 or more, but 48% click through to one or two retail sites or apps, according to Dynamic Yield.  

In Asia, 77% feel that content is personalized, and 88% say they would respond favorably to it.

One thread that seems to run through all of these studies is that consumers want good service and communication above all.

For example, Navar reports that 65% of UK consumers will dump a retail brand because of a bad delivery experience and 56% for an unfavorable exchange or returns policy.

They want to hear about their orders, with 65% preferring email as the means of communication. Indeed, email is chosen by 50% of customers age 55 and older and 33% of millennials. But 31% of the latter like live chat. 

Over a third say Amazon is their ideal retailer, mostly because of its communication.

But back to Episerver. It found that web shoppers are more put off by cost than by irrelevant offerings. They leave because:

  • Shipping was too expensive — 80%
  • I couldn’t find what I was looking for — 54%
  • I had price concerns (e.g., found a better deal, more expensive than expected, etc.) — 46%
  • I was just browsing and didn’t intend to make a purchase — 45% 
  • There wasn’t enough information about the product to determine if it was right for me — 37%
  • I found a product that better suited my needs elsewhere — 37%
  • I was looking for store or brand information and didn’t intend to make a purchase — 18%
  • The site showed me irrelevant products/services — 18%
  • Check-out took long — 17%
  • The digital content (e.g., videos, images, text., etc., wasn’t personalized to me) — 5%. 
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