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Generational Attitudes and Actions Around Data Privacy

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Data in this article are from Euromonitor International’s annual Voice of the Consumer: Digital Survey, fielded in March 2022. 

Technology has become interwoven with commerce, making it much more important for companies and brands to understand consumers’ perceptions and digital habits.

To better explore this topic, Euromonitor leverages the expertise of in-house analysts and key stakeholders across impacted industries to launch the annual Voice of the Consumer: Digital Survey. We recently surveyed 19,000 consumers across 19 markets, asking questions related to all areas of their digital lives, from shopping to privacy concerns to emerging technology.

Younger consumers are open to companies selling data to third-parties, but demand more value in return

Consumers across different generations have a range of views about their online security and privacy, although only 23% of global consumers feel in control of their personal information. Concerns around companies selling personal data and general scepticism around digital security are most common among older age groups (ages 40+). One in ten baby boomers (55+) avoid online shopping specifically because they are concerned about online brands sharing their personal details. By contrast, over half of millennials (25-39) and gen Z (15-24) consumers surveyed indicated they are not opposed to the idea of companies sharing personal data with third-parties. In return, they are seeking more value.

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Baby boomers are least likely to take more than required privacy or security actions

Gaps across generations go beyond attitudes, and impact the actions consumers take related to their digital security and privacy. Baby boomers stand out as being the least likely to take steps to protect themselves online – four in 10 have not taken any privacy or security actions.

Those that do act, often use some form of antivirus software. By contrast, younger cohorts are more likely to rely on secure VPNs, two-factor authentication, and privacy-focused browsers.

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Millennials stand apart in their willingness to engage with location-based advertising

Many consumers expect brands to tailor products and services to them, but often they have to give up personal data for more optimised experiences. This commercial trade-off has become much more top-of-mind for consumers in recent years as a result of expanded privacy regulations, such as the EU GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) that came into effect in 2018.

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Technology to pinpoint specific shoppers using location, facial recognition and even DNA has evolved alongside the rise in consumer privacy activism. While most consumers are hesitant to engage with these new technologies, gen Z and millennials remain the most open to trading their personal information for an improved shopping experience. Indeed, 28% of millennials are looking for personalised shopping experiences.

Level of Comfort with Technology.pngMore about the Voice of the Consumer: Digital Survey 

Technological advances are creating unprecedented change across consumer-facing industries. Euromonitor’s Voice of the Consumer: Digital Survey offers insight into the pace and depth of this evolution. The survey tracks consumer behaviour and attitudes in 19 countries across nine different areas:

  • Customer experience
  • Delivery
  • Device ownership and activities
  • Digital wallets and payments
  • Emerging technologies
  • Loyalty
  • Path to purchase
  • Privacy and security
  • Social media

Key questions the Voice of the Consumer: Digital Survey answers:

  • How are digital consumer habits evolving?
  • What do consumers expect from companies in the digital era?
  • How are shopping habits across the retail, foodservice, travel and entertainment environments evolving?
  • How are emerging technologies changing consumers’ expectations across the commerce experience?
  • How comfortable are consumers with new technologies?

Euromonitor International's Consumer Insights offering

Euromonitor designs consumer and industry surveys in-house, using input from research experts and clients. Our offering includes nine annual Voice of the Consumer tracking surveys, 15 annual Voice of the Industry surveys of professionals, and full custom survey capabilities to uncover holistic solutions in the context of wider market and industry trends.

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