Are Consumers Willing to Share Private Data? Privacy Seekers Share Demographic and Behavior Traits, According to IDC

Article excerpt

Some consumers closely guard their personal information, while a much smaller percentage could not care less about it.

According to a recent survey by the International Data Corporation (IDC), just 14 percent of consumers could be considered "privacy spenders," freely giving their information to retailers. Forty-seven percent are "privacy hoarders," who are uncomfortable sharing information about their social network activity, mobile app usage, and travel patterns. Thirty-nine percent of consumers are "privacy value seekers," who fall between the two other categories.


The survey was an effort by IDC's Greg Girard, program director for omnichannel retail analytics, to monitor how consumers feel about data channel by channel and action by action. "The question 'Will you trade privacy for relevancy?' is often asked in the abstract," he explains. "Consumers don't know what's going on in the background between the give and the get. And they don't know what they're getting."

Both privacy hoarders and privacy spenders are comfortable with retailers using online purchase data to serve them better, showing little difference in their thoughts about retailers using their activity on a Web site, in-store, or on a store's mobile app. They are far more cautious when it comes to retailers monitoring their online behavior as a whole, whether it's via social media, app usage, or other Web activity.

Girard found that privacy hoarders and privacy spenders have different demographic attributes.

Younger people skew toward being privacy spenders. The group is also made up of slightly more males and tends to have children under 18 in the household.

Since different retailers attract different demographics, retailers need to know how their shoppers feel about privacy. Of people who shop at Walmart, for example, just 10 percent are privacy spenders, while a third of the people shopping at Forever 21 fall into this category.

Retailers with more cautious shoppers should take extra care to avoid being perceived as creepy. In contrast, retailers with more open customers just might have an opportunity to connect with them in a more personal way. …


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