Companies are being warned to brace themselves for a mass customer exodus with two-thirds (65%) of Brits saying GDPR will prompt them to have a “spring clean” of the businesses which hold their personal information.
Over the past fortnight, consumers have been bombarded with repermissioning emails, even though the Information Commissioner’s Office has said the campaigns are largely unnecessary – some legal experts have even warned that many emails may be illegal.
But the latest wave of findings from The QT, a consumer confidence and attitude tracking study conducted on a quarterly basis by media agency the7stars, highlights an increased appetite among consumers to take greater control of their personal information in the face of Friday’s (May 25) implementation deadline.
The study found that overall awareness of GDPR has doubled among consumers over the past three months, with 52% now claiming to understand how the regulation affects them compared with 27% in February. In addition, the vast majority of consumers (82%) say they have noticed companies asking them to review their data privacy settings.
This heightened awareness around GDPR has driven consumers to focus more sharply on the area of data protection, and to give greater consideration to whether they can trust how their personal information is being used, the study shows.
Of the survey respondents, 63% agreed that “GDPR is making me question how much data others hold on me”, and 57% said GDPR will make them think twice about giving companies access to their data.
The survey also highlights the risk of consumers not re-opting to receive communications, with 35% of survey respondents saying they won’t want to sign up to things they are already a part of when GDPR comes in.
In addition, the proportion of consumers who claim they will exercise their right to be forgotten rose to 43% in this wave of the research – up 9% quarter-on-quarter. Among 18- to 24-year-olds this figure rose to 50%.
Frances Revel, a director of the7stars, said: “GDPR has been at the front of mind for brands and marketers for a long time but this latest research shows that, finally, it has made itself known to consumers in a more tangible way.
“Consumers look set to use GDPR as a reason to passively spring-clean the relationships they allow brands to have with them, and it indicates that we will need to work much harder to justify why we, as marketers, have access to their personal information.
“Transparency will be of increasing importance and no longer will brands capitalise on reams of illegible T&Cs. This represents a watershed moment for brands and media owners. We’re poised to enter a new era where far greater control is being placed in the hands of the consumer.”
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