Smartphone users take action in a landmark year for personal data, privacy and consent

There has been a sharp increase in the number of consumers protecting their personal data. The first six months of 2018 saw 26% of global smartphone users starting to protect their identity and personal information for the first time. This comes in response to a landmark year, where high-profile data leaks rocked consumer trust and at the same time the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force.

This new era in personal data management and protection has been identified in the fifth annual Global Consumer Trust Study from global trade body Mobile Ecosystem Forum.

Consumers want privacy and transparency
  • Smartphone users place importance on privacy (72%) and knowledge of how their personal data is used (68%). They are also concerned that data collection puts them at risk (57%). As a result, many consumers (69%) didn’t download an app due to excessive permission requests, while two-thirds (63%) didn’t complete a purchase on their smartphone due to trust issues.
  • With new data protection laws now in force in Europe and data privacy legislation under review in all of the 10-markets studied, nearly all smartphone users (97%) now believe they have legal rights around their personal data.
GDPR is taking effect
  • 62% of European respondents have noticed changes providers have made due to GDPR.
  • 63% are willing to manage their own personal data and are demanding solutions that put them in control.
  • Despite this sea change, only 27% of respondents actually feel in control of their personal data, while 36% do not feel they have a choice when terms and conditions demand access to personal data. There is a clear discrepancy, as users value their privacy, but do not yet feel in charge.
  • On average, consumers are adopting less than three of twelve suggested privacy protection actions. This fragmentation indicates that users are still considering multiple options, with no clear set of best practices available.

The collective impact of personal data scandals and new data privacy laws tipped smartphone users to reconsider what to do with their personal data. Finally, a clear majority of users are trying to protect their data.” The industry needs to help with market education. Users are still finding their feet, testing out different and often rather unsophisticated actions. It is the right time for the industry to invest and educate on best practices. Today, the users are keen to take action.

Report author, Dario Betti