Businesses appear to be in complete denial over consumer privacy concerns – despite heightened fears sparked by the Cambridge Analytica scandal and high profile data breaches – with more than a quarter (27%) of UK marketers believing that individual privacy is an outdated concept.
According to the Episerver 2018 Reimagining Commerce report, which surveyed 1,000 UK consumers and 100 marketers, 40% of marketers believe that some degree of privacy must be sacrificed for the best experiences, while 58% believe that consumers value customer experience over their personal privacy.
In sharp contrast, consumers were extremely reluctant to share their private data. Some 94% said they would not be willing to exchange their data for more relevant or personalised product recommendations, with 96% saying they would be unwilling to share their phone numbers, 93% refusing to knowingly share their location and 98% saying they would not knowingly provide access to their social media data.
Despite this, a quarter (25%) of consumers say they are disappointed when brands do not personalise their experiences and 22% say they are more likely to purchase from brands using personalisation. This disconnect represents a delicate balance for brands to strike in the post-GDPR era.
Episerver senior director of commerce Ed Kennedy said: “Following numerous privacy scandals, it’s clear that consumers are more conscious of their personal privacy than ever before. At the same time, they don’t want to give up the retail benefits that come from big data analysis and personalisation.
“Clearly the marketing community needs to find a middle ground, one that respects consumer privacy but gives people the choice to actively opt-in to better, more customised, experiences. Unfortunately, our research suggests that most marketers are still way off the mark when it comes to understanding consumers’ privacy concerns.”
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