NEWS3 November 2014

Search engines and social media ‘least trusted with personal data’

North America Privacy

CANADA — Banks, supermarkets, mobile phone providers and workplaces inspire most confidence with regard to their handling of personal data, according to new research from loyalty management firm Aimia.

When asked to rank types of businesses by the degree to which they are comfortable with those businesses handling an individual’s personal data, 82% of the 24,335 respondents surveyed across 10 markets put banks in the the top four (out of ten), along with supermarkets ( 64%), mobile phone providers ( 56%) and their places of work ( 50%). 65% of consumers placed online search engines in the bottom two of types of businesses they trust, and 58% placed social networks in the bottom two.

Nevertheless, 55% of respondents said they were happy to share personal information with companies in exchange for relevant rewards (though this varies significantly across international markets: 74% in India are open to providing personal details, while only 39% of Germans felt the same).

There was also disagreement on how comfortable consumers felt about companies using data to personalise their experience: 47% of French consumers said they were not comfortable when supermarket cashiers addressed them by name, while 46% in the Middle East saw it as “perfectly fine”.

“With today’s technological advances, companies have the ability to truly understand consumers — from what we like to eat, to where we like to shop, to even our names,” said David Johnston, group chief operating officer at Aimia. “But it’s important for businesses to know when and where it’s appropriate to use this information to engage consumers, and that it varies significantly by industry and nationality.

“The companies that win will be the ones that listen to their consumers’ preferences and use data accordingly to build mutually beneficial relationships.”

Full findings from the Aimia Loyalty Lens study, carried out by Research Now, can be found here.