A new landmark study shows that 7 in 10 people worldwide are concerned about sharing personal information, while two-thirds of the global population does not like the current privacy practices of most data collectors.

Amsterdam, 20 July 2020. The survey of more than 25,000 people in 40 countries was designed to understand people’s attitudes to sharing personal data with businesses. The study was conducted by the Worldwide Independent Network for Market Research (WIN) and ESOMAR, the global trade association for the data and insight industry. The results show that across the world the vast majority of the public have significant concerns around sharing their personal data, while more than half of the global population have been the victims of data misuse.

I am concerned about sharing my personal information
AfricaAPAC Europe MENALATAM North America
69%75%74%49%68%78%

The study showed a huge disconnect between businesses and the public in regard to data collection, its value, and its use. Globally more than two-thirds of people understand that their personal information is valuable for data collectors, this is particularly pronounced in Europe (where 74% of people agree), and Asia Pacific (75%). However, less than half of people globally consider sharing personal information as vital and necessary in our connected world – this rises to two-thirds of people in the APAC region. Less than a third of people in Latin America and the US consider sharing data vital. This suggests that many consumers consider data collection to be a one-sided deal; it’s valuable for businesses, but on the whole not necessary.

In North America, LATAM, Europe, and MENA fewer than half of all consumers are aware of what happens to their personal information after they have shared it with a data collector. What is more, the majority of the public across every region do not like the current privacy practices of data collectors – as many as 7 out of 10 people in the Asia Pacific, Europe, and North America.

I do not like the current privacy practices of most data collectors
AfricaAPAC Europe MENALATAM North America
57%72%71%53%51%72%

This collapse in trust between the public and companies when it comes to data collection most likely has its roots in the widespread experience of data misuse (spam, phishing, email hacks, leaked personal details or bank account/credit card hacks). More than half of the world’s population has been a victim of data misuse. In Europe, this is more than two thirds, in LATAM and Africa, around three in five people have been victims, while in North America a staggering 80% of the population has been the victim of some kind of data misuse.

Finn Raben, Director General of ESOMAR, commented on the study “Data is at the cornerstone of good decision making in both businesses and governments, even more so in a pandemic. Although this study paints a worrying picture for the future of data collection, we know that people’s views about sharing their data really change when they trust the organization collecting it. And you can build trust; consumers respond well to companies that give them control over their data and are clear and transparent.

Vilma Scarpino, WIN President, commented on the study “The digitalization of our lives grows exponentially in the current context. Although people recognize the value of technology, they are concerned about sharing their personal information and the level of trust among different players in this market is low. Despite the different levels of concern according to age or education that this global survey shows, interesting differences can be analyzed in greater depth in the results by country.”