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Brief Published: 31 Jan 2017

US Consumer Attitudes to Digital Privacy

Some 84% of US consumers are reportedly concerned about the security of their personally identifiable information

A growing number of US consumers are concerned about their digital privacy, a January 2017 survey by the Massachusetts-based International Data Corporation (IDC) has found.

Some 84% of respondents are reportedly concerned about the security of their personally identifiable information (PII), and seven in 10 are more worried today than they were two years ago. Highlights include:

  • Demographics Matter: Hyper awareness and growing sensitivity towards data exposure appear to have consumers on the verge of making serious changes in their behaviour, with millennials (aged 18-35) showing a higher concern for their PII than their Gen X (aged 36-50) counterparts.  
  • Rewards & Risks: As a growing number of brands engage in data-sharing programmes to improve services or sell products, consumers increasingly yearn for greater anonymity. "It is against this backdrop – when consumers feel their private information is in jeopardy – that consumers can exact punishment for data breaches or mishandled data by changing buyer behaviour or shifting loyalty," said Sean Pike, programme vice-president at IDC.  
  • Security Opportunity: As a result, Pike added: "It is imperative that business leaders not only understand the risk that their organisation assumes when collecting consumer PII, but also the potential security and compliance solutions available to help manage the collection, processing and use of sensitive data." 

For more on consumers' calls for tech brands to increase data security, and to take more responsibility for the unintended consequences of their actions, see Tech for a Divided Society: DLD 2017.