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UK consumers put a price on privacy: half would pay more to do business with an organisation committed to protecting their personal data

New research from OpenText reveals that nearly half (49%) of UK consumers would pay more to do business with an organisation that is committed to protecting their data privacy – surpassing Germany (41%), Spain (36%) and France (17%).

The new data – from a survey of 2,000 UK respondents – highlights public uncertainty and distrust around how organisations handle their data. Almost half (45%) of the British public don’t trust that organisations can keep their personal data safe or private. This is despite increasingly stringent standards for data privacy as new regulations emerge worldwide, including the 2018 introduction of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Severe GDPR infringements can result in fines of up to €20m or 4 percent of a company’s total global annual turnover, whichever is greater.

Getting to grips with data privacy

The majority (80%) of UK consumers “don’t have a clue” how many organisations use, store or have access to their personal data, including their email addresses, contact numbers and bank details. Yet almost half (48%) say they are very aware of the laws that protect their personal data – compared to Germany (44%), Australia (36%), Spain (32%) and France (32%). An additional third (36%) of UK respondents confirm they have at least some understanding of these regulations.

In fact, almost one third (32%) of UK consumers say they would proactively get in touch with an organisation to see how it is using their personal data or to check if it is storing their personal data in a compliant manner. More than one in ten (13%) have already done so at least once.

“The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the pace of digital transformation, as companies have moved to remote work and digital customer experiences,” said Lou Blatt, Senior Vice President and CMO at OpenText. Digital is now central to almost every business interaction – generating more data for companies to manage and secure. This shift coupled with increased consumer data privacy expectations means organisations are now under pressure to ensure that their data privacy solutions can scale appropriately for this digital-first era.”

Taking responsibility for data privacy

Almost three-quarters (73%) of UK consumers feel they know how to keep their own data private and secure on apps, email accounts and social media platforms, from using privacy settings to turning off geolocation. Yet one in ten (11%) believe keeping their data private and secure on apps, email accounts and social media is the responsibility of the app or company in question.

Just one in 10 (9%) UK consumers believe we are already at the point when every business is meeting its legal obligations to keep customer data private – fewer than in Spain (17%), Germany (13%) and France (11%). In fact, almost a quarter (24%) of the UK public either see this as a distant future or believe it will never happen.

Beyond potential fines, any organisation that fails to comply with data privacy laws risks losing the trust of their customers,” said Andy Teichholz, Senior Industry Strategist, Compliance and Legal at OpenText. “Leaders must leverage technology that not only provides visibility into how they capture and secure data, but also allows them to respond rapidly to customers’ requests on how their personal data is being processed, collected, and used. By investing in comprehensive privacy management solutions that automate and integrate an organisation’s privacy policies with data privacy and protection principles, organisations can satisfy regulatory requirements, reduce the risk of reputational harm, and maintain customer trust.”

Methodology

This research was conducted through Google Surveys from April-May 2020. Commissioned by OpenText, 12,000 consumers were anonymously surveyed globally, across the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Canada, Australia and Singapore.

The UK research polled 2,000 respondents to offer a snapshot of consumer perspectives on data privacy during the coronavirus crisis. You can access the global findings here.