What Australian consumers really think about data privacy

| May 16, 2018

A new report on consumer attitudes to privacy reveals widespread discontent with the value they receive from giving up their personal data to commercial companies.

Australians know they are giving valuable personal data to companies but do not believe they are receiving equal value in return. Just 34% agree they get improved service in return for the personal data they give to companies.

The Consumer Attitudes to Privacy in Australia research, recently undertaken by the ADMA (Association for Data-Driven Marketing and Advertising) and GDMA (Global Alliance of Data-Driven Marketing Associations) offers insight into customer viewpoints and expectations regarding their personal data. Furthermore, it guides businesses and organisations on how they can increase consumer confidence and trust.

The report reveals that awareness of data practice is growing among Australians. Many claim to be more aware of data privacy issues due to media stories and 60% agree that they are more aware of how their data is collected and used than in the past

Trust and transparency are revealed as the most important factors for a healthy data-exchange relationship between companies and comsumers. 55% rate being able to trust an organisation as a top three reason that would make them happy with sharing personal information.

While consumers on the whole understand the necessity of data exchange in the modern world, they do not always feel they receive adequate benefits for doing so.  Just 34% agree they get improved service in return for the personal data they give to companies

Concern over data privacy is common in Australia but there are signs that people’s comfort with sharing data is improving. 44% of people surveyed agreed that they now feel more comfortable about the issue of exchanging personal information with companies than in the past.

However Australians see the idea of data as a personal asset that can be traded as an appealing concept and 77% would prefer to hold their own data and exchange it when they choose.  Futhermore, while most consumers feel they should take ultimate responsibility for their data, currently Australians do not feel a great sense of control over their data sharing and data exchanges with companies. 81% want to have more control.

“Our Consumer Attitudes to Privacy research shows clearly that organisations need to invest further in strategies to ensure trust, transparency and choice are front and centre, and those who deliver on these attributes will be the ones that succeed in the future,” said Steve Sinha, the Acting CEO and COO of AADL.

“As the go-to industry association for data leadership, education and guidance, we encourage Australian consumers and businesses to take ownership of what’s happening with the new currency that is data.”

Australians need to prepare for the European Union General Data Protection Regulation which comes into force on 25 May 2018. It regulates the processing of personal data and it affects companies worldwide who are doing business in the EU or with EU citizens.

ADMA has partnered with the UK’s The Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM), to offer two courses to help Australian firms and marketers understand GDPR, and additional resources are available at its website.

The report is sponsored by Acxiom and has been released three times in the last 10 years. ADMA, in partnership with the Global Data-Driven Marketing Association, has also developed a global report which will launch later in May which includes 10 other countries.

National Privacy Awareness Week runs from the 14th to the 20th of May and urges Australians to ‘Value personal data – it’s worth protecting’.

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