Taking a Pulse on Data Privacy

By Amanda Silvia, kNOW Research Manager at Critical Mix. She can be reached at [email protected].


This article is part of a series of on-demand research conducted by kNOW Instant Insights, exclusively for the 4A’s. Check out the previous articles on organic foods, consumer attitudes towards advertising, and CBD-infused products.


Talk of data privacy has been a staple in the news over the last few months. With this as a backdrop, kNOW, an on-demand survey product from global insights provider Critical Mix, conducted a survey among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 U.S. adults to ask how they feel about sharing personal data with companies amidst the Facebook scandal involving Cambridge Analytica and the recent implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation in the European Union.

Of the 80% of survey respondents that had an active Facebook account when the Cambridge Analytica controversy surfaced, only 9% deleted their account as a result. Among the 9%, more millennials reported deleting their accounts than any other age group. Despite the small percentage of deleted accounts, most Americans do express a higher level of concern over sharing their personal data with companies because of the scandal.

Survey findings also show that almost 70% of respondents are extremely concerned or very concerned with data privacy overall. This sentiment is shared across genders, age cohorts, and the four census regions; with more than half of all of these groups reporting concern. Despite this, slightly more than half of all those interviewed do share their personal data with companies and brands, but 47% of them express discomfort with doing so.

Information that people are most willing to disclose about themselves is their gender, age, first and last name and personal email address. According to survey findings, females are more likely to share their marital status than their male counterparts. Males, however, are more comfortable sharing their current location than females.

Unless it’s required for things like obtaining a mortgage, respondents are least likely to ever share their Social Security number, driver’s license number or such financial information as income and credit score.

While a little more than half of all respondents are not influenced by the particular company asking for their data, those between the ages of 25-34 are more inclined to share data with certain companies than others.

When asked to name brands they are most comfortable sharing personal data with, respondents cited Amazon specifically more than any other. The survey finds that consumers also have a higher level of trust within the financial industry, with various banks, credit card and other financial companies frequently mentioned. Other noteworthy brands are Google, Walmart and Apple.

Most people typically share their personal information with companies in order to sign up for a loyalty program, meet a requirement for a subscription service/download an app or to receive emails about promotions, discounts and coupons. Females are considerably more likely to be motivated by loyalty programs and receiving notifications of promotions and coupons.


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