Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

75% of US and UK consumers ‘not comfortable’ buying from brands with poor data ethics 

New research has revealed that 75% of US and UK consumers are not comfortable purchasing from a brand with poor personal data ethics. The survey, conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Permutive and consisting of over 3,000 US- and UK-based adults, shows consumers are concerned about their data privacy, being tracked online, and want more choice in the data they share with brands.

The consumer data underscores a trend of decreasing consumer trust with targeted advertising. The study found that three-quarters of consumers (74%) are concerned about brands being able to view and track their online behaviour to target them with advertising. And despite regulatory interventions such as the General Data Protection Regulation and the California Consumer Privacy Act, only one in four (27%) consumers say they completely understand how their personal data is used by brands and companies to target them with advertising online. 

This lack of trust and knowledge in how their data is being used results in consumers opting out of advertising at increasing rates. If given a choice, 42% of consumers would not share any personal data online with advertisers, and 51% would like to choose the types of personal data to share online with advertisers. When it comes to protecting that data, one in three (34%) consumers believe that brands are responsible for protecting their personal data online, even if they have actively or passively shared that data with the brand.

This could mean shrinking revenue for brands and media properties that don’t prioritise consumer privacy: 89% of consumers say they would be more likely to spend money with a brand that makes a commitment to protecting their personal data online over one that doesn’t. 

“There needs to be a focus on sustainable solutions that are grounded in user consent for companies to protect their consumers and their revenue,” says Joe Root, CEO and co-founder at Permutive. “We’re faced with consumers opting out of advertising at increasing rates, which will create a bigger shockwave than the demise of third-party cookies. It’s imperative that we rebuild data in advertising to protect consumer privacy by empowering publishers, brands, and adtech partners to work together to use data responsibly.”

This survey was conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of Permutive between May 31- June 1, 2022, among adults ages 18+ in the United States (n=2,009) and the United Kingdom (n=1,015).