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Drawing on a survey of 32,000 people across 22 markets, Dentsu has released its latest report “Decoding Data Dynamics: Digital Society Index 2020” which indicates that consumer attitudes to personal data can be hard to decode while adding that understanding those attitudes is key to delivering more relevant, engaging consumer experiences.
Analyzing more than 1,000 Hong Kong-based respondents, the deep-dive report is part of the global Digital Society Index study, conducted at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, looking into how the crisis may impact the long-term trends transforming the personal data landscape, helping brands decode these dynamics.
Misusing personal data remains the number one driver of distrust in the technology sector, with 65% of people in Hong Kong agreeing with this statement. Yet the adoption of digital platforms and social media continues to grow.
While Big Tech may take the headlines, lack of trust impacts all industries, said Dentsu. Government agencies (43%) and utility companies (35%) are the most trusted, followed by Airlines/travel companies (34%). Technology companies are somewhere in the middle, sitting at 26%. At the other end of the spectrum, media and entertainment companies are the least trusted at 16%.
The survey additionally found that people generally don’t believe it is acceptable for businesses to use any type of personal data to improve the services they deliver, from internet browsing (32%) to even the most basic forms of personal data, such as email addresses (44%), level of education (42%) and location (32%).
78% of people in Hong Kong are likely to stop doing business with an organisation that lost or misuse their data, but only 11% learned that their personal data has been misused by an organization.
However, at the same time, many people share a wide array of personal data without knowing they are doing so and feel they have little power to do anything about it. The COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated that some of these concerns may be well-founded. New products and services that have grown rapidly in popularity during the lockdown have already been cited for data misuse.
In Hong Kong, 49% of consumers are willing to pay for products and services through facial recognition or fingerprint tech. In terms of improving services, however, only 8% of consumers think it is acceptable for businesses to use their biometric data.
At the same time, consumers are giving a number of clear signals about the future shape of the personal data landscape. Eight out of ten people globally say they would stop doing business with an organization that lost or misused their data. This pattern is consistent across all the markets, with Hong Kong sitting at 78%.
People aged 18 to 34 are more likely to take action than older demographics. Half of Gen Z (50%) say that they have taken steps to reduce the amount of data they share online. That compares to a third for people aged between 45 to 65 years old. A similar trend was also discovered in adblocking software usage. This could be a sign of things to come—a growing movement of consumers as data activists, using their tech-savvy to manage their online profiles on their own terms.
While people have become more aware of how their data is used and taken steps to manage it on their own terms. 45% of Hong Kongers have NOT taken of any of the actions we asked in our survey. Only 11% of them have learned that their personal data has been misused by an organization, and only 8% made complaints to an organization regarding the use of their personal data. The challenge is that with many services requiring data sharing to secure access, consumers deciding to share less data can mean receiving an inferior or limited service.
More than a third (36%) of people in Hong Kong expect to receive financial benefits in exchange for organizations using their data in the next 2-3 years, relatively behind compare with the global average (44%). The trend of data monetization has been evolving for some years now, in markets such as China (65%), the expectation in the minds of consumers is clear. However, contrast that expectation with what is happening today: just 13% of people in Hong Kong have sold their personal data over the last 12 months.
As consumers expect technologies to become commonplace in terms of applications such as payments, technologies such as this (as well as voice assistants, for example) will raise new questions about how such data can be shared securely and with privacy concerns fully addressed. In Hong Kong, almost half (49%) of the people surveyed expect to pay for products and services using facial recognition or fingerprint technology, while less than a quarter (22%) have no intention to do so.
Almost half (49%) of people in Hong Kong are willing to pay for products and services through facial recognition or fingerprint tech. However only 8% think it is acceptable for businesses to use their biometric data for product and service improvement.
The report also found a higher intent in males (53%) than females (45%).
“People in Hong Kong are embracing digital technology as an enabler of a healthier and more connected life,” said Pauline Chu, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network Hong Kong. “Yet they are also taking back control of their data and online activity concerning organizations may misuse their data. Brands need to reassess how they build relationships with this cohort in a way that places a premium on transparency, empowerment, and a clear value exchange when using consumer data.”
For more information on this research, go here.
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