Privacy is paramount to online consumers

Eden Estopace
Enterprise Innovation

More than half (55%) of consumers globally have decided against buying something online due to privacy concerns, a recent KPMG International survey indicates.

The survey also revealed that less than 10% of consumers feel they have control over the way organizations handle and use their personal data. Respondents in most countries say privacy controls are more important than the potential convenience gained from sharing personal data.

“An executive would be at risk of being fired if half their customer base disappeared after they made a crucial business decision,” said Mark Thompson, Global Privacy Lead at KPMG.

“Failure to embed privacy into the DNA of their business strategy could ultimately lead to the extinction of a business given how closely consumers and regulators alike are paying attention to how organizations collect, store and use personal data.”

The survey further revealed that 82% are not comfortable with the sale of their data to third-parties in exchange for the speed, convenience, product range, home delivery and price comparison that online shopping offers.

Over two-thirds of people are not comfortable with smartphone and tablet apps using their personal data. In all markets but one, at least 75% of respondents said they were uneasy with their online shopping data being sold to third-parties.

About 55% said a free fitness tracking device that monitors the well-being of users and produces a monthly report for them and their employer is also crossing the line.

Half of survey respondents reported taking action on these concerns - they already delete their internet browser cookies or manage their social media settings. Almost one-third even use incognito or ‘do not track’ modes, while a quarter percent use encryption.

But even with these concerns, 57% of people fail to read, or only skim, privacy policies on entering websites.

On the other hand, 78% think telematics devices that enable emergency services to track their customers’ vehicles are a good thing. Some 57% are also happy to have a smart energy meter installed that enables a provider to deduce how many people live in a home when they eat and sleep, and the appliances used.

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