US Web Users Concerned About Privacy, but Hold Themselves Accountable - eMarketer

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US Web Users Concerned About Privacy, but Hold Themselves Accountable

Worries about online shopping plague consumers

September 12, 2013

US internet users continue to show concern about privacy issues, and it’s unlikely those worries will dissipate any time soon. But a June 2013 survey of US smartphone users conducted by online privacy management services provider TRUSTe found that the vast majority of respondents—76%—believed they held the most responsibility for managing their own privacy protections. Only 6% lay that burden with wireless service providers, while 5% thought it was the job of device manufacturers and 4% believed it was the responsibility of the government.

Party Most Responsible for Protecting Mobile Privacy According to US Smartphone Users, June 2013 (% of respondents)

Despite this finding, it would be shortsighted for marketers to abdicate efforts to assuage privacy concerns. An overstep by brands in the privacy arena can easily result in a loss of trust and reputation, such as when Samsung and Jay-Z partnered to produce a mobile app that was widely criticized for requiring users to share a significant amount of personal information.

Aside from general internet use, privacy concerns were highest when internet users were shopping online; 87% of respondents said they were concerned about their privacy at least some of the time when shopping on the web. That was followed by email use (86%), online banking (79%), social networking (76%) and mobile app use (60%).

Frequency with Which US Internet Users Are Concerned About Privacy When Engaging in Select Activities, June 2013 (% of respondents)

Mobile app users are least guarded about sharing their gender information with a company—53% of respondents said they would acquiesce to such a request. Next in line was age (44%), an email address (39%) and a full name (31%). There was a sharp dropoff in the willingness of consumers to provide an app with their birthdate. And nearly a quarter of respondents said they didn’t want to share any information at all.

When it comes to privacy issues, there’s a thin line between asking for just enough and far too much.

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