Claims that companies will be inundated with data deletion requests once GDPR comes in to force in May appear to have been rubbished by new research which shows that as little as 4% of current data ecosystem will be affected.
The study, carried out by W8, claims that, although 22.3 million consumers will be contacting organisations and asking them to delete their records, on average they will only be contacting three organisations each. This equates to a maximum of 67 million customer records being deleted from the estimated 9 billion records held by UK organisations – or 7% of the UK’s data ecosystem.
W8 Data insists that, in reality, this figure is likely to be closer to 4%, given that many of the people surveyed will not do what they say they will.
The findings are in sharp contrast to a recent study by Crown Records Management, which claimed that 71% of UK consumers plan to definitely or possibly ask a company to wipe out or edit their data when GDPR is implemented. This would equate to 37.3 million requests.
Meanwhile SAS research carried out last year showed that nearly half (48%) plan to activate new rights over their personal data and a study by Consumer Intelligence and FastMap claimed that the insurance industry could have to delete over two-thirds of its customer data under GDPR.
Demographically the W8 Data study reveals a correlation between age and the likelihood of adoption, which is the one area where all studies about data deletion are in agreement. Baby boomers are the most likely to exercise their right to erasure, with 53% of this age group saying they are planning to revoke consent compared to just 18% of Generation Zs.
Geographically, people living in Wales and the North East were found to be the most protective of their personal information, while residents of the Home Counties and Scotland have the most relaxed attitude.
W8 Data managing director Will Anthes said: “There has been mass panic over the right to be forgotten, given the gross exaggerations of people who should know better. Some reports have painted this clause as the major GDPR villain with the power to deplete the data ecosystem by up to 40%.
“However, this study shows that the risk is much less – likely to be between 4% and 7%. This is not a disaster and will actually in the long run increase marketing’s ROI, as, moving forward, only those customers who want a relationship will be contacted.
“GDPR is a good thing. It is not the monster that many are claiming it to be. Organisations will still be able to market to the vast majority of their customers – they just have to do it in a more transparent and responsible way, which in itself will lead to a reduction in right to be forgotten requests.”
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