Stat attack

UK consumers put £20 value on their personal data

23rd Nov 2016

How much is your customers’ data worth? Taking Facebook as an example, if you apply the logic that the social network’s value is entirely driven by the data of its users, then a slightly crude division of its valuation (£281bn) by its monthly active users (1.79bn) suggests a figure of somewhere around £156.98 per user.   

However, a study by Aimia suggests people currently value their data much lower. Surveying 15,000 people across multiple countries, the loyalty analytics experts found that in the UK, people value their online data such as browsing history and online purchases at around £20.

The same value is applied to contact information, such as mobile numbers, while personal information such as name, nationality and date of birth is valued even lower, at around £10.

Shrewd customers

The study’s premise was to ask consumers how much they expected to be rewarded in exchange for certain types of online data, with significant cultural contrasts appearing in the results.

In the USA and Australia, for instance, consumers value their online data as more valuable (USA £38 and Australia £29) than their personal data and their contact information as less valuable (USA £19 and £27 respectively and Australia £29 for both types).

In Germany residents don’t make the same distinction, valuing all their data even higher, at an average of £43.

David Johnston, group chief operating officer at Aimia, believes whilst Germans were ahead of the curve, globally, their research found that consumers were becoming far shrewder.

“Today’s consumers are digitally savvy. They know their data is valuable to brands and when they share it they expect an improved service or benefit in return.

“By being transparent and by giving personalised and tailored benefits, brands can prove to consumers the data exchange is beneficial. Those that don’t run the risk of losing access to the customer data all together, or potentially having to pay them for the privilege.”

The research also found that consumers are more willing to share their personal information when they understand why information is being taken and how it will be used. For instance, 40% were willing to share mobile phone numbers when no context or example was given explaining why they were being asked to share this. This figure rose to 65% when the context and an example was given.

The pitfalls of failing to be transparent with data use are potentially huge. A 2015 global study of consumers revealed almost half (48%) were now suspicious about how companies use their data, and counter-movements such as Personal Information Management Systems (PIMS) are creating whole new industries around consumers taking control of how brands use their data.

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