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Research indicates that France’s web users are wary about sharing information with brands, and May 2015 polling by Ipsos for Elia Consulting found that internet users in the country were hesitant to dish out anything more than simple details to companies even when offered tailored experiences.
The research pointed out that plenty of internet users in France—75%—had handed out their data online before. However, reasons for doing so were largely limited to the need to conclude a purchase, cited by 73%—an activity where they basically have no choice. Respondents were far less likely to enter personal data online to receive information of interest (27%) or promotional offers (26%).
Personalized services were of even less desire, cited by just 11% as a reason for entering personal data online. And respondents appeared hesitant to input anything besides the basics in exchange for personalization. When asked about the likelihood of sharing personal data with companies to receive personalized or improved products or services, email addresses were the only type of information that the majority were open to giving out. While around four in 10 would share mailing addresses or personal data such as name and age, far fewer were open to going to the next level, with geolocation data, transaction data and past online activity cited by fewer than a fifth of respondents.
Consumers in the country also show high concerns about being tracked online. In March 2015 polling by TNS Opinion & Social for the European Commission, just 6% of internet users in France were “very comfortable” with having free websites share their online activity data with advertisers, vs. 26% who said they were “very uncomfortable.”
Such concerns present France’s data-hungry marketers with big hurdles to overcome. In April 2015 research from Adobe, 62% of marketers in France agreed that “capturing and applying data to inform and drive marketing activities is the new reality,” and 69% said marketers had to accept “hyperpersonalization.” Both response rates were higher than those from their counterparts in Germany and the UK.
While marketers in France are excited about the potential of big data and personalization, they must work to make consumers comfortable with the idea of sharing data for personalization. Considering that the majority of internet users in the Elia Consulting/Ipsos study believed they were poorly informed of how companies used their personal data, transparency and communication will be critical.
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