US consumers want to switch to businesses that prioritize data rights but are frustrated with current practices, according to the new 'Data Privacy Feedback Loop' series of studies from data privacy infrastructure provider Transcend, which examined consumer expectations regarding data privacy in relation to their experiences with different companies. This article is copyright 2020 The Best Customer Guide.

The survey and report findings revealed a potential host of business opportunities for improvement on data privacy, including the potential for consumer loyalty, trust, and preference.

"Data privacy is a burning conversation for consumers, companies, and regulators all around the world," said Ben Brook, CEO of Transcend. "Businesses are not yet realizing the benefits of user-centric investments in data privacy. By creating a yearly measuring stick for consumer expectations on business practices, companies can better benchmark their practices against users' preferences and innovate on data privacy in a way that aligns with consumer feedback and offers a competitive advantage."

Companies that offer consumers greater data privacy visibility and control have the potential to unlock increased consumer trust, preference, and loyalty. Specifically, if given a choice to do so, 93% of Americans would switch to a company that prioritizes data privacy. A similar number (91%) would prefer to buy from companies that always guarantee them access to their data. Surveyed during the height of a global pandemic and economic uncertainty, nearly two in five Americans (38%) expressed that they believe it's worth spending more money with companies that prioritize data privacy.

However, most Americans today are frustrated by the lack of data control companies offer. Notably, 88% of Americans are frustrated by the fact that they don't have control over their personal data and they wish the process was easier. An overwhelming 94% of all Americans wish for a better experience of getting their data back from a company (regardless of whether or not they've tried).

Consumers make clear that when a company takes a better approach to data privacy it paves the way for a potential brand halo effect. According to 60% of Americans, companies that can provide users with instant access to control personal data are seen to care about their customers. Additionally, 62% of Americans also rate companies that provide instant access to a user's data as trustworthy, 58% say transparent, and 55% deem them to be helpful. In fact, 70% of Americans who have received their personal data from a company say that it made them like that company more.

On the other hand, companies that miss the mark on data privacy may risk negative perceptions. Consumers view companies that do not offer data privacy as being untrustworthy (59%) or unethical (44%). Almost one-in-five (16%) would go so far as to call the company lazy.

"Consumers are ready to align their loyalty and purchasing with companies that prioritize their data rights," said Brook. "But the data suggests high levels of current consumer frustration. This may indicate that companies need to zoom out from compliance and approach data privacy in the vein of trust and business opportunity."

Americans have a strong sense of ownership over their personal data, and 97% of those polled believe that it's their right to access their personal data from a company. Notably, 88% feel they ultimately own any personal data they give to a company. Data privacy is also an ongoing concern that will only increase in consumers' minds. Expect data privacy to grow in interest year over year, with over nine-in-ten Americans (94%) agreeing that data privacy will be even more critical five years into the future.

Other findings from the report included:

  • Nearly all Americans (98%) agree that data privacy is important. This sentiment extends across all gender and generation lines (Male 98%, Female 98%; Gen Z & Millennial 95%, Gen X 99%, Baby Boomers and Seniors 99%).
  • Americans want access to their personal data so that they can choose what information companies can and can't collect (65%) or to delete it altogether (43%). Two in three people (65%) are simply curious to know what information companies have on file about them. Two in five (40%) would even update their information.
  • Nearly two in five Americans (38%) expressed that they believe it's worth spending more money with companies that prioritize data privacy.