UK Consumers Not Feeling The GDPR Benefit

Three months on and it's now getting easier to back up my long-held view that GDPR was a damp squib, and will remain that way.

A massive hat tip to Marketing Week for signalling that the Bank Holiday weekend was the three-month anniversary of the new law on data processing being introduced. The site's research shows what we all, as consumers, no doubt feel. Two in three (65%) are not aware of any change and a quarter (27%) do actually think things have got better. That leaves 8% fretting that control over their control over how their personal information is processed has actually gotten worse. 

For me, the most worrisome statistic is that one in five claim they have seen brands breaking GDPR rules, and that for nine in ten of those who spot a transgression, their trust in that brand suffers. 

In other words, the post-GDPR landscape can be summed up as one where there is only risk and little reward. Give that the new law was not particularly difficult to comply with, regardless of the scary headlines, we can say for certain that the whole episode was mainly characterised by the public becoming more aware of data protection rules that pretty much enforced rights they largely already had.

In a nutshell, there was a flurry of activity as the May 25th deadline loomed when the whole of the UK became thoroughly fed up with countless brands asking to either stay in contact or inviting us to check out their new privacy policy. Then there have been all the cookie reminders. It has been a bit of a pain for the average consumer, to be honest, and nobody has a clue what they have gotten out of it.

So compliance doesn't help you stand out because it's seen as a given and most companies would have simply updated their privacy terms to reflect the legal basis for processing data they were opting for. 

However, knowledge of GDPR is pretty much universal. It is here that brands can go wrong if they are not getting it right. Unlike before, the population is far more clued up on data protection and expects to be told why a brand wants their data and what they intend to do with it before they sign up.

I have come across brands that are still using opt-out techniques with a pre-ticked consent box (a big no-no) as well as references to terms and condition that don't provide a link to explain what those conditions actually are. I've also seen special offers extended only to those signing up to hand over their personal data. These are all non-compliant practices. Most brands are getting it right, but still, some are not.

And that is pretty much what GDPR has given us, in truth. Clearer information when signing up to receive offers and newsletters is rightly seen as the norm. But it is largely taken for granted; it's expected.

That's why only around a quarter of us believe things are now better, and the rest think they are worse or can't really tell any difference.

There is very little respect out there to be earned for getting it right, only the shame of being seen as a chancer for getting it wrong. GDPR has come and gone. Compliance is expected -- and yet so far, punishments have not been handed out for non-compliance. A damp squib indeed. 

1 comment about "UK Consumers Not Feeling The GDPR Benefit".
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  1. David Beck from Retired, August 29, 2018 at 7:34 a.m.

    The main result I've experienced is loss of access to a number of US news sources and even a few retail sites. Great news for the EU, more control over the news and less opportunity for its residents to do business outside its borders. Just what they were hoping for.

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