Data Security Fears Outstrip Reality

July 7, 2021

The reality of consumer fears around data security are not borne out by the prevalence of breaches, despite a surge in online shopping, highlighting a critical reputational issue for brands when communicating data stewardship, highlights the latest report from dotdigital.

Original research of more than 2,000 American consumers in the dotdigital “Rise of the responsible marketer” report reveals that while 67% of consumers were concerned their data would get hacked when sharing it with brands and retailers while shopping, only 20% had experienced issues with data security. A further fifth (21%) reported having their details stolen, showcasing a disconnect that brands must address to build the trust necessary to ensure conversion, retention, and customer lifetime value.

Generational and behavioral factors are central to the issue, with 82% of younger digital natives (aged 18-24-years old) reporting shopping more online during the pandemic, compared with 59% of over 65s. Conversely, while younger shoppers are less concerned their data will be compromised when shopping online, just 55% of 18-24-year-olds raise this as a worry compared to 76% of those in the 55-64 age range, they are more likely to have experienced having their data stolen. A quarter (25%) of 18-24-year-olds have had their data hacked in the last year, compared to just 17% of over 65s.

Set against an increasing feeling of consumer concern over how companies utilize data, with 75% of US consumers saying brands could do more to ensure the safety of their personal data, businesses need to build infrastructures that engender, earn and sustain trust, and clearly communicate these with consumers, comments Tink Taylor, Founder and President of dotdigital Group.

“While the rates of data breaches uncovered by our research are still unacceptably high, it indicates fears about the prevalence of hacking and data security currently outstrip the reality. This is indicative of an image problem that brands need to solve when showcasing data stewardship and it’s crucial businesses embrace compliance and trust. Consumer sentiment is critical and ensuring security and compliance naturally fosters trust, which is the key for consumers to share their data with a brand. If a consumer trusts a brand, then they will be engaged; and the value of that relationship, nurtured over time, is returned in increased conversions, loyalty and customer lifetime value.”

“dotdigital promotes best-practice to enable retailers and brands to be identified by their customers as responsible marketers for data privacy, security, compliance and sustainability,” he concluded.

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