NEW YORK: Consumers have a contradictory attitude to data, simultaneously wanting targeted ads but proving reluctant to share the information needed for ad targeting to work, a new survey has found.

Infosys, the business consultancy, surveyed 1,000 consumers in each of five countries – the US, UK, France, Germany and Australia – on their sentiments regarding big data as it related to the retail, financial services, and health care industries.

Some 72% of consumers worldwide thought that the online promotions or emails they received from retailers did not resonate with their personal interests and needs.

But 78% said they would be more likely to purchase from a retailer again if they provided offers targeted to those interests and needs, while 71% felt the same about incentives based on location.

The problem for retailers, however, is that just 16% of respondents were prepared to share social media profile information, making it more difficult for retailers to deliver the tailored offers people want.

But when it comes to financial services, a clear majority of respondents (82%) positively expected their bank to mine personal data in order to protect against fraud. And 76% indicated they might change banks if a competitor could reassure them that their data and money would be safer.

Overall, 39% of survey respondents described data-mining as invasive, but similar proportions said it was helpful (35%), convenient (32%) and time-saving (33%). German consumers were the least willing to share personal information.

Stephen Pratt, Managing Partner for Worldwide Consulting and Systems Integration at Infosys, called the survey results a "wake-up call" to companies.

He said there was an "enormous untapped opportunity to gain greater access to data by clearly communicating 'what's in it for me' to the customer".

"Our research shows that people will certainly share though they're very savvy about how they give up their personal information," he explained, adding: "Companies need to crack the code in mining data effectively to gain consumer trust and clearly articulate the benefit to their customers."

Data sourced from PR Newswire; additional content by Warc staff