Cookie Warning Does Not Put Off Most UK Web Users - eMarketer

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Cookie Warning Does Not Put Off Most UK Web Users

A small subset refuses to allow cookies to be used

August 23, 2013

An EU law requiring web users to be notified about cookies went into effect in 2012 and began requiring that websites disclose to consumers that they are monitoring their web behavior on the site. There was some question as to how web users would respond to this information and whether it would affect their browsing. The answer seems to be not terribly much. And oddly enough, in April 2013 polling by Deloitte UK, fewer people said they were aware of companies’ data collection efforts than in 2012.

In total, nearly a majority of UK web users polled said they’d never heard of the EU cookie law. Only 15% of respondents said they knew at least a fair amount about it. This is surprising given that an initial warning banner appears on UK websites informing the user if the site uses cookies.

Familiarity with the EU Cookie Law, According to UK Internet Users, April 2013 (% of respondents)

Still, this is not to say that all UK web users are ignorant or dismissive of being tracked by cookies. Nearly one out of five said they browsed the internet with cookies disabled. It seems that those who pay attention to cookies and know what the technology does insist on not having their information captured.

In response to cookies banners specifically, 56% said they either accepted or agreed to the site using cookies, or ignored the notices and simply carried on. Another 17% said they typically did not give permission for cookies, even if it meant not using the site. This corresponds closely to the percentage who said they generally browsed the internet with cookies disabled.

Response to Cookie Banners Presented by Sites, According to UK Internet Users, April 2013 (% of respondents)

Regardless of whether UK web users heed cookies warnings or ignore them altogether, they do still have expectations of companies’ behavior. Nearly three-quarters of respondents said that if companies failed to keep their personal details safe they would consider not using them again. And 58% said that they would do the same if they found out a company was selling their anonymous data.

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