2020 Data Privacy Feedback Loop: Consumer Insights Amid Pandemic

August 13, 20202 min read

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When we set out to survey American consumers on their views of data privacy, we were unsure of how the COVID-19 pandemic would affect what we’d find. But if anything, we found that despite this year’s unprecedented winds, consumer concern around data privacy remains a constant—and their interest in the topic, and expectations for how companies handle their data, are only set to grow.

This year’s Data Privacy Feedback Loop is the inaugural report that will offer an ongoing map of the changing attitudes in consumer expectations on data privacy and business action. For the 2020 report, 1,018 Americans were polled June 18–23, 2020, in an online survey administered in partnership with the global research firm Kelton.

You can download the full report here.

Our hope is that by creating a yearly measuring stick for consumer expectations on business practices, companies can better benchmark their practices against users’ preferences and innovate on data privacy in a way that aligns with consumer feedback and offers a competitive advantage.

So what did we find in 2020? Companies that offer consumers greater data visibility and control have the potential to unlock increased consumer trust, preference, and loyalty. If given a choice to do so, 93% of Americans would switch to a company that prioritizes data privacy. A similar number (91%) would prefer to buy from companies that always guarantee them access to their data. And nearly two-in-five Americans (38%) expressed that they believe it’s worth spending more money with companies that prioritize data privacy.

However, most Americans today are frustrated by the lack of data control companies offer. Notably, 88% of Americans are frustrated by the fact that they don’t have control over their personal data and they wish the process were easier. An overwhelming 94% of all Americans wish for a better experience getting their data back from a company (regardless of whether or not they’ve tried).

Consumers make clear that when a company takes a better approach to data privacy it paves the way for a potential brand halo effect. According to 60% of Americans, companies that can provide users with instant access to control personal data are seen to care about their customers. Additionally, 62% of Americans also rate companies that provide instant access to a user’s data as trustworthy.

On the other hand, consumers view companies that do not offer data privacy as being untrustworthy (59%) or unethical (44%). Almost one-in-five (16%) would go so far as to call the company lazy.

What stood out most urgently to us was that as privacy becomes an ever-more-important concern, it becomes an ever-more-important part of consumer decision-making. Consumers are ready to align their loyalty and purchasing decisions with companies that prioritize their data rights. But the data suggests high levels of current consumer frustration. This may indicate that companies need to zoom out from compliance and approach data privacy in the vein of trust and business opportunity.

We’re already seeing the tangible benefits that taking this approach can bring. When Patreon implemented their Transcend-powered Privacy Center, the consumer response was swift.

“We fundamentally shifted our approach to data privacy in April 2019 to be more user-centric, and worked with Transcend to include more transparency on our data practices and offering immediate data access to our millions of users. When we took this approach, we were flooded with hundreds of thank you tickets.” — Priya Sanger, Deputy Legal Counsel, Patreon.

If any time was right to prioritize a best-in-class data privacy experience, our research shows us the time is now.

Learn more about Transcend’s 2020 Data Privacy Feedback Loop here.

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