NEWS15 August 2019

American consumers less willing to share data

News North America Privacy Trends

US – Consumers have become slightly less willing to share certain personal information with websites, even if that results in a personalised experience, according to a survey from the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF).

Privacy abstract image

When asked ‘which of the following types of information would you be willing to share with a website?’, 31% of respondents selected home address – a 10-percentage point difference from the ARF’s 2018 Privacy Study.

Respondents also said they were less willing to share their spouse’s first and last name ( 33% down from 41% last year), personal email address ( 54% compared to 61%), and first and last names ( 63% compared to 69%).

People are least likely to want to share their social security number ( 10%), financial and medical information ( 20% and 26%), their work address ( 31%), and their home address and phone numbers ( 31%), according to the survey.

The survey found respondents were most willing to share their gender, race or ethnicity, marital status and employment status.

Informing respondents that they would receive a personalised experience in exchange for their data did not result in any substantial change in what data they were willing to share – rather, in some cases, people appeared less willing to share their data if it resulted in ads being tailored to them.

Paul Donato, chief research officer at the ARF, said: “The implications of these findings are critical in light of the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) soon going into effect, which will allow consumers to opt-out of the sale of their personal information to third parties, not to mention the other upcoming state and federal regulations that could impact the ad tech industry. It is also worth exploring in more detail why the American people do not see the value in sharing data to improve personalisation of advertising messages.”

The ARF surveyed 1,105 US adults 18+, balanced by age, gender and region. The survey was fielded during the week of 26th March 2019, in an online survey by Qualtrics.