Consumers are willing to allow companies to use their location data if it benefits them personally or society in general, according to a survey by Gravy Analytics.
Of those polled, 73% agree with use of location information to improve app functionality. In addition, 39% would allow the use of their data so they can download and use apps for free and 23% to be served relevant ads and promotions.
But 40% fear that location data might lead people to infer things about them based on places they visit -- a feeling expressed by 44% of men and 37% of women.
Moreover, 68% of consumers are concerned about data breaches and 62% worry that data will be traceable to them as individuals (62%).
Still, 54% of consumers are somewhat comfortable with aggregated and anonymized location data collection being used, and believe it cannot be traced to them as individuals. That comfort level is shared by 58% with a postgraduate degree and 60% of men.
Despite those fears, 73% would allow their aggregated and anonymized location data to be used tin emergency response management during natural disasters. And 45% would do so to improve the services like public transportation. Moreover, 38% want this data to be used for providing new amenities.
Consumers also support use of location information to target or personalization content in an app or on a website — with 31% saying they love or like it.
The top reasons for this support are receiving offers and promotions for products that interest them (71%), and seeing ads for things or activities they might want to avail themselves of (56%).
Among 18-34 year-olds, only 26% dislike companies using location data to target ads to them. Asked why, 58% of those do not want their data being used for commercial gain.
"While consumers are generally open to the benefits that location data can deliver to improve their lives and society at large, concerns remain and more work needs to be done to educate the public on how this information is used and how data, including data from sensitive locations, is safeguarded," says Jeff White, founder and CEO of Gravy Analytics.
White adds: "It is up to the industry to demonstrate the extensive consumer privacy measures put in place and emphasize the benefits of using this data for greater social good."