Increased awareness of personal data use defuses concern from Irish consumers, says Deloitte
Consumers in Ireland are becoming increasingly aware of the usage of their data by online companies; however, this increased awareness does not appear to correlate with any rise in concern, according to Deloitte Ireland’s latest Digital Consumer Trends report on trust and privacy.
Concern among consumers in Ireland over the usage of their data has halved over the last three years. In 2018, 54% of respondents in Ireland were ‘very concerned’ about companies using their personal data; this dropped to 25% this year.
However, 42% of respondents in Ireland stopped using at least one social media platform, either temporarily or permanently, over the last year. Of those, 23% did so as they were concerned about their data privacy.
The Deloitte Digital Consumer Trends report – formerly known as the Global Mobile Consumer Survey – is an annual survey of consumers which explores their digital usage and attitudes towards technology. The survey on trust and data privacy was carried out between July and August 2021, shortly before the lifting of many Covid-19 restrictions which occurred in Ireland in September. 1,000 people between the ages of 18 and 75 in Ireland were surveyed.
The survey also found that most people in Ireland are willing to disclose their vaccination status to gain access to services and resume various aspects of their pre-pandemic lives. It found that 58% are in favour of sharing their status with their employer; 69% with event providers; 67% with entertainment facilities; and 72% with travel companies or airlines.
The majority (77%) of respondents to the survey in Ireland accept all the default cookie settings when prompted by a website at least half of the time. While 21% use a specific browser that limits ad tracking at least half of the time; those who are not concerned about data privacy are more likely to accept all default cookie settings and less likely to refuse app permissions or use browsers that limit ad tracking.
It also found that 26% prefer to receive tailored ads, 39% have no preference and 29% do not want to receive tailored ads; younger age groups are more likely to prefer having ads tailored to them.
A total of 87% of respondents in Ireland have access to at least one connected device or appliance in their homes. Smart TVs are the most popular, with 61% having access, followed by video streaming devices and games consoles (38%) and wireless speakers (29%). Ownership of wearable technology has grown to 46%, an increase of 9% since 2020, largely propelled by growth in the ownership of smart watches.
“From buying online to working from home, to social media, online streaming services, gaming, fitness and wellness apps – the post-Covid move towards online has advanced the ease that consumers experience in their day-to-day online interactions,” said John Kehoe, Audit partner at Deloitte Ireland. “However, underpinning these simplified processes, is a complex data ecosystem which enables all these products and services.
“Our fast-paced world is triggering a shift towards opting in and signing up; as a result, data sets are becoming far more granular, richer and more valuable to companies. While emerging privacy-focused technology and standards, as well as increased regulatory activity, have enhanced consumer awareness about the collection of their personal data, a lack of awareness about the use of that data persists. Organisations have a powerful tool within their hands that can drive insights, create automated decision-making, produce highly-personalised, targeted advertising and, essentially, build highly detailed profiles on consumers.
“The GDPR, along with emerging internet regulation and a focus on digital trust and safety, is paving the way to more privacy-centric thinking. We are witnessing a move away from ‘tick the box’ compliance with such regulations and a step closer to privacy culture: consumers understanding what benefits them when they share their data, but also realising that their data is invaluable and, as such, an economy. In this digital era, consumers want to share data with brands that they trust and for organisations, data privacy is becoming an increasingly important business enabler and brand differentiator.”