NEW YORK: The vast majority (80%) of US and UK adults aged 20-40 believe total privacy in the digital world no longer exists, although their concerns about data privacy have modestly reduced over the past two years, a new survey has revealed.

According to an online poll of 2,012 consumers by Accenture Interactive, the management consultants, a full 87% also believe there are no adequate safeguards in place to protect their personal information.

Furthermore, 70% of respondents believe businesses are not transparent about how their information is used and 68% say there is not enough transparency about what is being done with their data.

More than a third (39%) believe their data is being sold while 42% believe their data is being used by vendors and suppliers to provide them with relevant offers.

However, while consumers in both countries remain cautious about how their data is used, the survey uncovered more positive responses regarding their purchasing behaviour.

A majority (64%) continue to be concerned about websites tracking their buying habits, but this is down from the 85% recorded in Accenture's 2012 survey.

In addition, nearly half (49%) do not mind having their buying behaviour tracked if it means they receive relevant offers from brands and nearly two-thirds (64%) would welcome text messages alerting them to offers when they are in a physical store.

Glen Hartman, global managing director of digital transformation for Accenture Interactive, said businesses needed to work harder to align themselves with the digital lives of their customers.

He pointed to further findings that price and quality as well as customer loyalty programmes and relevant promotions are more important than advertising or celebrity endorsements for influencing consumers to complete a purchase.

The top drivers for completing a sale are competitive pricing (61%), quality products (36%), superior customer experience (35%), customer loyalty programmes (31%) and relevant promotions (26%).

These factors are considerably more important than advertising campaigns (6%) and celebrity endorsements (3%), the survey found, prompting Hartman to warn brands that this should be "a huge wake-up call for CMOs".

"Businesses must embrace the full customer experience," he said. "The relationship with customers is defined by the experiences delivered across marketing, sales, service, online and offline, before, during and after campaigns and transactions."

He added that companies must find ways to establish more trust with customers and reach them without "crossing a data privacy line".

Data sourced from Accenture; additional content by Warc staff