The Capricious Consumer: Shoppers Want Firms To Use Their Data, But Remain Suspicious

The COVID-19 pandemic has permanently changed the shopping habits of 54% of consumers, according to Data, Digital Trends & The Reopening, a new study from to Adtaxi, conducted with Survey Monkey. 

But that doesn’t mean people are any more trusting when it comes to online businesses. 

Of those polled, 72% say companies' online data privacy disclosures are purposefully misleading. And 60% feel businesses are not working hard to protect their privacy. 

And of all the types of information, they are least likely to share their email content. 

Shoppers will part with certain types of information at a lower rate, the survey finds: 

  • Contact info — 44%
  • Sensitive info such as race or religion — 27%
  • Location — 27%
  • Purchase history — 17%
  • User content such as emails, photos and voice recordings — 8%



Consumers do see the new iOS14 rules as positive, and iOS users report having an improved online experience. And 44% ascribe their improved online experience to the collection of personal data by apps and websites.

However, 49% disagree with this, and 7% don’t even know their data is being collected. 

It depends on age — 60% of those in the 18-29 age cohort believe they are having a better online experience due to data collection. But older shoppers are less likely to agree. 

Broken down by age, 60% of respondents age 18-29 report a better online experience thanks to data collection, with this number decreasing steadily by age bracket. Among iOS respondents of all ages, 69% report an improved online experience. 

“On one hand, there’s an understandable mistrust of data collection and privacy policies -- yet a growing number of consumers value individualized content and willingly share information when asked,” states Chris Loretto, executive vice president of Adtaxi.

Loretto adds: “iOS14’s privacy rules are an important step in bridging this divide and building consumer trust, but it’s also up to each individual business to prioritize transparency and education within its first-party data practices.”

On another front, 63% of consumers plan to put a priority on patronizing small and local businesses, and 74% will do so during the holiday season. 

In addition, 73% like it when the cost of shipping is rolled into the price of a product instead of being added as a separate fee at checkout. 

Overall, 95% say free shipping is important, and 93% say the same about no-cost return policies. And, 74% see loyalty rewards as key, with 70% favoring same- or next-day delivery.

Survey Monkey surveyed 855 U.S. consumers on behalf of Adtaxi. 

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