More than half, or 55 percent of consumers surveyed globally said they had decided against buying something online due to privacy concerns. This is according to a new report by KPMG International, which also revealed that less than 10 percent of consumers felt they had control over the way organisations handle and use their personal data today.
Respondents in most countries say that privacy control is more important than the potential convenience gained from sharing personal data.
“Consumers and regulators alike are paying attention to how organisations collect, store and use personal data,” said Daryl Pereira, Head of Cyber Security, KPMG in Singapore. “Companies which fail to embed privacy concerns into the DNA of their business strategy risk extinction.”
Understanding consumer sensitivities
When it comes to the global attitudes on the usages of personal data, consumers draw the line in dramatically different places.
What one consumer finds ‘creepy’…
Another finds cool…
While concerns around the “creepy line” vary, the overall top 3 concerns about the way organisations are handling and using their personal information were: unwanted marketing; personal information being sold on to third-parties, and lack of secure systems. The survey found that strong cyber security systems (32 percent) are the most effective thing an organisation can do for customers to trust them with their personal data.
Over half of survey respondents said they were willing to share their gender, education or ethnicity online, while a considerably lower proportion were happy to share more sensitive information, such as location (16 percent), address (14 percent) or medical records (13 percent).
Consumers are increasingly taking matters into their own hands, with half of survey respondents saying they already delete their internet browser cookies or manage their social media settings. Almost one-third even use incognito or ‘do not track’ modes, while a quarter percent use encryption.
Consumers in Singapore are increasingly more cyber savvy and aware of the risks that cyber threats pose to their personal data and personal situations. Like consumers in the west, the findings suggest that cynicism is also growing among consumers in Asia.
The average Singaporean consumer is not convinced that companies are doing enough to protect their personal data, and this in turn results in a lack of trust and hesitance to purchase online (70 percent). Singapore ranks third, with Finland (72 percent) and Malaysia (74 percent) holding the top two spots.
Other findings include:
“Companies are now beginning to see cyber security as a business enabler; a golden opportunity to build trust and consumer confidence by being cyber-ready and cyber-safe. This could be achieved by implementing the right processes and technologies, and educating their staff, management and the buying public,” said Mr Pereira.
Other global highlights from the report
For companies seeking to use personal data to personalise their marketing and services to the individual, or to build brand loyalty and develop better products, it is important they understand that although opinions on privacy vary around the globe. It is clear that, more than anything, consumers value privacy over convenience.
“An executive would be at risk of being fired if half their customer base disappeared after they made a crucial business decision,” said Mark Thompson, Global Privacy Lead at KPMG. “Understanding the value exchange between access to personal information and trust has never been more important than it is today.”