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Consumers Won’t Mask Their Data Privacy Concerns [Infographic]

There’s no use trying to disguise it: Consumers are generally concerned about data privacy. More than two thirds of global consumers (69%) agree that recent news events have increased their concerns around businesses’ handlings of personal data, according to the “Finding the Right Balance Between Personalization and Privacy” study by SAS. While consumers were weary of companies’ Big Brother effect last year, their fear has been elevated by a series of data breaches, Wilson Raj, SAS’s global director of customer intelligence, said at the analytics software provider’s 2014 Premier Business Leadership Series in Las Vegas.

“The data that we’re talking about has power to draw consumers to you powerfully, [but also] draw them further apart from you,” he said.

But consumers’ angst doesn’t end there. Seventy-three percent of consumers feel that using their personal data without permission violates their privacy—and more than half of those respondents (52%) strongly agree with this notion.

Some marketers may be more fearful of this news than others. According to the study, consumers are more inclined to share personal information with certain types of businesses. For example, 73% of global respondents say they’re likely or very likely to provide banks and credit unions with personal information, and 57% say the same for phone service providers. However, only one third of consumers are willing to share their data with entertainment providers. Geographic location also plays a role. Consider the following: 64% of U.K. consumers are likely to share information with retailers—that’s more than the 62% who are willing to share their data with the banks. Contrastingly, the percent of Americans who are willing to provide personal information to retailers falls in the upper 50s range.

Although consumers are fairly open with some data, they’re likely to mask sensitive data. For instance, name and email address are the two morsels of data consumers are most likely to share (both at 94%) followed by birth year (78%), birth month (74%), lifestyle (69%), and address (66%). Cell phone number, home phone number, and credit card/financial data rounded out the three forms of data consumers were least likely to share, at 53, 43, and 18%, respectively.

Fortunately, there are several ways brands can convince consumers to provide more information. Building trust is number one—with 63% of global consumers saying their level of trust that their data is secure influences whether they’ll provide more insight. Forty-nine percent of respondents say receiving benefits, like discounts or free merchandise, sways their decision, and 39% say the same for their business frequency and interest in a brand’s products or service. The relationships consumers have with company employees (19%) and personalized offerings (17%) are the least persuasive.

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