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Consumers to Brands: Don't Monitor My Product Usage

Why? Privacy is a core belief

June 17, 2016 | Retail & Ecommerce

Most mobile phone users in the US are worried about brands tuning in to when and how often they use their products. Smartphones, TVs and alcohol, were among the top items of concern, according to January research.

US Mobile Phone Users Who Are Concerned About Companies Knowing How, When and How Often They Use Select Products, Jan 2016 (% of respondents)

Mindshare surveyed US mobile phone users who had made a digital purchase in the past month about connected products and privacy issues.

Mobile phones themselves were the source of the most concern. The majority of respondents (54%) said they were worried about companies knowing how, when and how often they used them—a figure that could be even higher among parents. More than two-fifths said they were worried about businesses gaining intelligence from their TV, alcohol and food usage habits.

The research also uncovered the key reasons why consumers are suspicious of such monitoring possibilities. Among the 57% of all respondents who were concerned about companies knowing when they’re using products, 59% said it was because privacy was a fundamental principle. A majority (54%) also cited general creepiness, and nearly half (49%) the assumption that the business will use the data to make another sale.

Reasons that US Mobile Phone Users Are Concerned About Companies Knowing How, When and How Often They Use Products, Jan 2016 (% of respondents)

Another potential concern for consumers is in how a company stores the personal information that is collected. In a separate September 2015 study from Associated Press and GfK, 45% of internet users said they were very or extremely concerned about how well retailers could keep their personal information secure when they shopped on a website.

As the retail industry begins to latch onto the internet of things (IoTs), security will likely continue to be a pain point for consumers and their relationships with brands. The IoT allows businesses to collect, share and analyze buyer behaviors through an interconnected ecosystem of internet-enabled levers, and retail executives believe it will dramatically change the way they do business in the next three years.

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