Exploring Consumer Attitudes About Privacy


We’ve been taking a look at recent studies about consumer attitudes regarding data use and privacy.

A new study, “Privacy Front and Center,” from Consumer Reports’ Digital Lab with support from Omidyar Network, found that American consumers are increasingly concerned about privacy and data security when purchasing new products and services, which may be a competitive advantage to companies that raise the bar for privacy. A majority of smart product owners (62%) worry about potential loss of privacy when buying them for their home or family, according to CR’s February 2020 nationally representative survey. The study found that the privacy and security conscious consumer class seems to include more men and people of color.

Additional findings from Consumer Reports:

  • 65% of American consumers say they are slightly or not at all confident that personal data is private;
  • 96% of Americans agree that more should be done to ensure that companies protect the privacy of consumers;
  • 42% of consumers believe that companies should be the most responsible for user privacy.

The Cisco 2020 Consumer Privacy Survey, “Protecting Data Privacy to Maintain Digital Trust,” found that protecting data privacy remains important to consumers during the pandemic. In fact, one-third of consumers are “Privacy Actives” who have stopped doing business with organizations over their data privacy practices. The survey also found that residents of all 12 countries in the study view their privacy laws very favorably and want more transparency about how their data is being used.

Cisco also found:

  • 40% of respondents felt that the pandemic would strengthen the importance of privacy; only 28% said it would make privacy less important in the future;
  • Over half (57%) supported employers requesting employee health information to ensure a safe workforce. However, slightly under half supported location tracking, only 37% supported disclosing information about infected individuals, and only a third supported sharing information with private companies for research purposes.

In addition, Deloitte recently released its 2020 Digital Consumer Trends survey, which focused on the growth in smart device use and data in the United Kingdom. It found that UK consumers have become less concerned about the use of their data. In 2018, 47% of respondents stated they were ‘very concerned’, this has now halved to 24%.