Consumers wary of social data sharing

01 August 2012

NEW YORK: Shoppers in the US are more willing to share information regarding their purchase habits with retailers than social media services, new figures show.

MyBuys, the ecommerce services provider, and the E-tailing Group, the consulting and research firm, polled 1,000 adults to gauge their attitudes in this area.

A 55% majority of respondents would be "mostly willing" to give trusted retailers insights into their buying preferences if this led to an "enhanced shopping experience".

By contrast, 52% of the panel were either "much more" or "somewhat more" concerned about handing the same details to online services like Facebook and Twitter.

Robert Cell, the CEO of MyBuys, argued there was a certain "irony" in the fact customers preferred the idea of engaging with retailers than social media sites designed for this very form of interaction.

"The onus is clearly on retailers to leverage this privilege responsibly to deliver on the promise of a better experience," he added.

"The data strongly shows that doing so results in a better shopping experience for the consumer, increases brand loyalty, and makes it a win-win for both consumers and retailers."

When discussing the kinds of information they were happiest to share, 63% of interviewees proved open to revealing which types of offers and deals most met their needs.

An additional 61% of the sample would divulge which brands they currently purchased, and 60% agreed with this statement for specific products.

One area where considerable caution remains is receiving targeted messages and offers on a mobile phone based on geo-location data, an area where 76% of interviewees had "mixed feelings".

"Online privacy is a complex issue and there is no 'one-size-fits-all' answer, but consumers are willing to share data when there is an equitable value exchange," said Cell.

Data sourced from MyBuys; additional content by Warc staff