Why Businesses Should Focus on Customer Privacy

BY: ON WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16, 2014

The U.S. Consumer Confidence Index, released by TRUSTe®, shows an alarming trend: A high percentage of U.S. people over age 18 are unnerved about their online privacy, and this trend is worsening.

This survey was conducted online among 2,019 U.S. adults and reveals that 92 percent of the participants are on edge, at least some of the time, concerning online privacy. Nearly three-quarters of Internet users in the U.S. are worried about privacy more so than a year ago. And more users worry about business data collection versus government surveillance programs.

Many businesses are not taking measures to mitigate this concern among users. This can backfire on businesses, e.g., more people not willing to download apps or click on ads. Protecting consumers is crucial to a company’s success—not just with customers but with competitors; companies should not cut corners here.

What are the top reasons for privacy concerns? The top two responses: 1) Businesses sharing personal data, and 2) Businesses tracking online behavior.

More specific findings:

  • 58 percent of respondents were worried about businesses giving out their personal information with other businesses.
  • 47 percent worried about businesses tracking their online actions.
  • Only 38 percent named media attention to government surveillance programs as a cause for concern.

What are consumers doing about all this?

  • 83 percent are leery of ad clicking.
  • 80 percent won’t use smartphone apps that apparently don’t protect privacy.
  • 74 percent aren’t comfortable enabling location tracking on their smartphone.

Other findings of the TRUSTe survey:

  • User concerns over online privacy are climbing: 92 percent of users worry about privacy.
  • Trust with businesses is declining, coming in at 55 percent currently.
  • 89 percent of consumers will refrain from conducting business with a company they don’t feel is protecting their online privacy.

The Public Wants More

The tides of privacy are turning and the public is waking up. Businesses who fail to take action will surely be met with customer defection.

Image via Shutterstock

About the Author

Robert Siciliano
Robert Siciliano, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com is fiercely committed to informing, educating, and empowering Americans so they can be protected from violence and crime in the physical and virtual worlds.
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