Consumers crave more personalized and uniquely targeted shopping experiences, research firm Accenture noted in its recent “Global Consumer Pulse” report, but more than 49 percent of consumers are now concerned about personal data privacy as they subscribe to intelligent services designed to understand and anticipate their needs. Only 40 percent of U.S. consumers would provide personal data to companies online in exchange for more tailored experiences, and only 37 percent would allow it to be collected by smart devices, the research found.
Beyond the data protection issue, another big contributor to consumer hesitation to share personal information with smart devices is the creepiness factor. Nearly half (48 percent) of U.S. consumers told Accenture that they would use smart reordering services, where intelligent sensors in the home can detect when certain products are running low and automatically place orders to replenish them, and another 35 percent use smart assistants, like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. While 89 percent of consumers who use smart sensors and personal assistants are satisfied with the service, 40 percent admit to feeling a bit creeped out by technology’s ability to interpret and proactively respond to their needs. Forty-three percent fear that these services—and, by extension, the companies that provide these services—will come to know too much about them and their families.
But regardless of how companies obtain customer information, a full 92 percent of U.S. consumers, and 87 percent of consumers worldwide, believe it is extremely important for companies to safeguard their information. Additionally, 66 percent of U.S. consumers and 58 percent of the world population want companies to earn their trust by being more transparent about how their personal information is being used.
“Digital trust will become increasingly challenging for companies to achieve as they look to capture new categories of customer data, such as biometric, geolocation, and even genomic data in their drive for greater relevance,” said Kevin Quiring, managing director of Accenture Strategy and lead for advanced customer strategy North America, in the report. “Customer concerns will inevitably rise, so it’s critical that companies have strong data security and privacy measures in place, they give consumers full control over their data, and are transparent with how they use it.”
Transparency with regard to data usage, Quiring said, demonstrates responsible stewardship and ethics.