Data privacy issues have made for some sensational headlines recently, and people are understandably wary of letting too much personal information circulate online. However, the UK’s Direct Marketing Association (DMA UK) has found that people remain surprisingly willing to share data.

In a report that was commissioned by the Global Alliance of Data-Driven Marketing Association (GDMA) in conjunction with DMA UK and Acxiom, 51 per cent of consumers said they are happy to exchange their data with companies they do business with if there are clear benefits. This is encouraging considering the fact that 74 per cent said they did have some degree of concern when it comes to online privacy.

In fact, 26 per cent of people said they don’t mind how and why their personal data is used. Meanwhile, 23 per cent of people are on the opposite end of the scale, saying that they never share their personal data for any reason.

Regional differences in consumer attitudes

The report broke down consumers’ attitudes by country. They found that when it came to those with a lax attitude toward personal data, the Netherlands, Germany and Argentina topped the chart. The USA, Singapore, and Spain had the highest percentage of people willing to share their information for clear benefits.

They also found some interesting differences among attitudes depending on location. For example, 72 per cent of people in the Netherlands said they’re very aware of the way their data is used and collected; just 40 per cent of French people said the same. While 65 per cent of Germans felt that data sharing was a part of the modern economy, only 46 per cent of French people surveyed agreed.

What can companies do to encourage data sharing?

Not surprisingly, 83 per cent of consumers in the 10 markets surveyed said they’d like to have more control over their data. They were also asked what companies could do to make consumers feel more comfortable about sharing personal data. Eighty-six per cent of people said they’d like them to show transparency, while 84 per cent want to see simple terms and conditions. Eight-two per cent said a flexible privacy policy would make them feel more comfortable.

However, their results show that the biggest motivator when it comes to encouraging people to share data is money, with half of consumers saying they’d be willing to trade data in exchange for cash payments. A third said they’d share their data to get personalised products and services, and 48 per cent would use it to negotiate a better offer.

The results are clear: despite regional variations, consumers overall are quite willing to share data when they stand to gain something from it, and transparency remains essential in building consumer trust.

Tobias Matthews

Tobias Matthews


Writer at Fourth Source.