Consumers Want To Trust Brands, But Privacy Jargon Too Difficult To Understand, Study Finds

Consumers want to trust the brands they love, but it’s not always possible. When it comes to privacy, 97% of consumers in a recent report said they are somewhat or very concerned about the way companies use their data.

Thirty-nine percent of consumers surveyed believe that 20 or more businesses have access to their personal data, while 80% believe their personal information is sold online and half of the 1,000 consumers participating in the survey don’t feel they are well-informed about how businesses use it.

The study highlights insights into the ways that current business strategies impact customer relationships and make suggestions for change and policies to build trust.

The findings, from the 2019 Consumer Data Privacy Report by Tealium, a data hub and tag management company, delve into the relationships that consumers have with brands and how they feel about data privacy. 

About 40% of consumers say that, other than themselves, businesses are the most responsible parties for protecting their data -- more so than the federal government.



Some 59% of consumers think businesses do a good job of handling their data, but 71% also say they don’t think it’s possible to have total control over their own online data.

Consumers seem ready for state and federal governments to step in. In fact, 91% of consumers participating in the survey say they want their state or federal government to adopt strict regulations to protect their data.

Brands have room to become more transparent about their data policies. Thirty-eight percent of consumers say they have read a brand’s online terms and conditions. The remainder simply rely on brands to do the right thing because they don't want to take the time to read the policies or the jargon is too difficult to understand. Some 72% of consumers said they would be more likely to read these policies if they were shorter, and 61% would read them if they were straightforward. Nearly half said they want to see examples of how their data is used.

While trust seems to be a default for many when they have no other choice, it’s also tenuous. Only 15% of respondents are more likely to forgive data-use missteps from brands they trust.

The report estimates that lack of trust cost global companies $2.5 trillion in 2017, and Accenture estimates that 85% of consumers won’t forgive a company’s missteps even if they previously trusted the brand.

Consumers feel they have the right to be concerned. Still, they are willing to give up the data for perks.

Some 43% of consumers would provide data about themselves to a retailer for a discount, and 32% said they would provide this same data in exchange for exclusive benefits or perks.

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