Consumers Are More Trusting With Data As They Shop Online

Having turned to digital shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers are now slightly more trusting in terms of how brands are using their data, according to Consumer Experience Sentiment Report, a study from Merkle. 

For instance, only 23% now oppose sharing personal information regardless of benefit -- a drop of 5% from 2020. 

Despite that, 51% now feel brands know either slightly or far too much about them, versus 48% in 2020.  

Overall, though, consumers seem more positive about data use for marketing and advertising.  They report:

  • It helps me discover more things that interest me — 50% (up from 47% in 2020).
  • It makes it easier to find the products/services that interest me most — 49% (up from 47% in 2020). 
  • It makes navigating the internet easier — 34% (up from 30% in 2020). 
  • It often feels invasive — 44% (down from 44% in 2020). 
  • I don’t like sharing my personal information no matter the benefit — 29% (down from 30% in 2020). 
  • It’s something that I don’t really care about — 20%, flat YoY

In addition, consumers are now more comfortable with providing data if it leads to more personalized experiences:

  • Browsing history — 38%
  • Listening or watching habits on a streaming platform — 46%
  • Names of my friends — 21%
  • Satisfaction metrics/ratings — 60%
  • Purchase history — 44%
  • My location — 33%
  • My photos — 18%

All of these numbers are up by fair-sized margins over 2020. 

How are consumers feeling about things? They report the following:

  • I am optimistic about how my circumstances will change in 2021 — 63%
  • I have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 — 51%
  • My personal values have changed in the past year due to COVID-19 — 38%
  • I have experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19 — 37%
  • I was more impacted by COVID-19 than the average person in 2020 — 22% 

On the positive side (for brands), 48% have increased spending on online shopping, while 45% have increased spending on food/cooking and 33% have upped spending on streaming services/subscriptions.  

In another finding, Merkle reports that 88% of shoppers view a brand's products more favorably if they feel the firm is listening to their needs. And 91% are more likely to make a repeat purchase if they feel the brand is listening.

Merkle surveyed more than 1,300 consumers in March 2021. 

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