GDPR Nine Months In: B2C Firms Fear Impact On Sales

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) took effect last May. And businesspeople still have mixed views on it, according to Data Privacy-Marketing’s GDPR Journey, a study released on Monday by the UK DMA.

Depending on your own feeling about GDPR, the results could be interpreted either way. 

On the one hand, only 20% say their firm is 100% in line with the law. But, overall, the companies polled feel they are 82% compliant. 

Even better, 90% have a clear understanding of GDPR. But only 40% believe their colleagues do.

Also on the upside, 57% believe GDPR will have a positive impact on sales, while 38% believe GDPR will be negative and in the B2C arena 57% feel that way. Only 10% of B2C marketers are optimistic.

The other big news in this study is that 90% of these marketers want the UK to retain access to a digital single market after Brexit. And 50% are concerned about what it will cost to deal with difficulties exchanging data with the EU. 



Meanwhile, 52% say their ability to meet customer needs has remained the same, versus 37% who said the same the year before. 

But only 29% feel this ability has improved, compared with 39% in 2017. Yet only 19% say it the ability to meet customer needs has declined, and that percentage is down from 24%.

Also on the positive side, 90% claim they have a good individual understanding of the GDPR.

In addition, 32% say they are moderately aware of that other threatening rule — the ePrivacy Regulation — but only 29% have good awareness. And 72% have made changes to their email marketing, which must have been tough if they don’t understand the law.

What are their GDPR-related priorities?

  • Implementing data privacy by design for data processing — 18%
  • Staff training — 18%
  • Conducting legitimate interest assessments for marketing campaigns — 16% 

That’s not very impressive.

Meanwhile, the GDPR absurdities continue to pile up. 

For one, a Worcester digital marketing firm has changed its name from GD PR & Media to Conteur to avoid brand confusion.

"While it hadn’t had a massive impact on business so far, we could see that the fact we were called GD PR was causing quite a lot of confusion due to people assuming that’s what we specialized in,” co-founder Gillian Davies, told the Stourbridge News.

In another, a government agency has been penalized for a violation. Malta’s Land Authority was hit with a €5,000 administrative fine for a breach last November.

The authority’s online portal, which had been taken down, “lacked the necessary technical and organizational measures to ensure the security of processing,” says the country’s GDPR commissioner. The portal is now back up. 

It’s not much of a fine, but come to think of it, governments should have to follow the same privacy rules as businesses. 

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