Three-fifths of consumers are uncomfortable sharing personal data with businesses

Study by the Digital Catapult reveals that the growth of the UK's digital economy is being hindered because consumers don't trust how businesses are using their personal data

Three-fifths of consumers are uncomfortable sharing personal data with businesses

Data is big business nowadays – just ask any tech entrepreneur. However, in spite of its massive commercial potential, enterprises are facing a never-ending battle to convince consumers to part with their personal information. According to a new study by the Digital Catapult, the national centre that works to advance the UK’s digital economy, this is having a worrying impact on business growth. 

The Digital Catapult’s report, Trust in Personal Data: A UK Review, revealed that 60% of consumers are uncomfortable sharing personal data, with 14% refusing to share any data at all. The primary reason for this reluctance appears to be a distrust in businesses’ openness and transparency in how and when they use consumer data; 65% of respondents said they were unsure if data was being shared without their consent. 

Despite the benefits of using personal data, such as improving customer service, 79% of consumers believe businesses primarily use it for their own economic gain. For 76% of respondents, the main concern around sharing information is that they they have no control over how data is shared or who it is shared with. It’s hardly surprising therefore that 94% of respondents stated they want more control over their data. 

Clearly, enterprises need to find a way to encourage people to share their personal data. As such, it’s probably worth taking note of the 43% of respondents who said they would share information if it was clear that it would be used to improve society. Meanwhile, 21% of those surveyed said monetary gain would convince them to share personal data, with 61% stating their information should be worth at least £30 each month.

“The sharing of personal data is vital to the improvement of digital services and the development of new ones,” said Neil Crockett, CEO of the Digital Catapult. “Businesses need and will benefit from consumer data but the public doesn’t understand why they should share it. To address this, organisations need to be honest, open and transparent about when and why data is being used. This will fulfil digital’s potential for societal change and ensure the UK’s digital economy thrives.”

We hope this report serves as a wake-up call to those business that are not divulging the details of their data use. 

Adam Pescod
Adam Pescod

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