STOCKHOLM: Personalised offers, improving new product development and receiving targeted ads are among the main reasons consumers would consider sharing their personal data, a study has found.

Drawing on interviews with over 100,000 people in 40 nations, Ericsson, the communications group, found that more than 50% believed their personal information is collected for commercial purposes.

Some 44% of the sample would allow companies to utilise such data in return for receiving personalised offers, as would 41% if firms then improved products or developed impressive new ones.

A further 22% agreed with this statement if it led to increasingly personalised advertising, while 19% considered making such an exchange for accurate metered charges that came with using a service.

"Transparency and respect, offering the ability for consumers to opt in our out of a service and returning user value will increase consumer engagement and strengthen the relationship," Ericsson said.

When asked which information they would be happy to share publicly, an 11% share would "feel good" about revealing their religious beliefs, falling to 9% for political views and 8% for purchase behaviour.

The same number held this opinion regarding their usage of online services and apps, as did 7% for individual search and browsing history, and their current location.

Medical records posted 6% on this measure, while 4% of interviewees proved willing to reveal information stored on their PC or mobile phone.

Upon being questioned about which organisations collect their data, a 53% majority of the panel cited mobile phone operators, as well as 52% naming social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

Apple and Google, specifically, registered 43% here, ahead of other technology companies such as Yahoo and Microsoft on 41%. Companies that make apps for smartphones and tablets logged 39%.

Data sourced from Ericsson; additional content by Warc staff