Consumers in Asia Pacific love tech, and believe it improves their lives – but almost two-thirds also say they are worried about how much of their personal information is collected and used, new research shows.

A study from GroupM found 80% of consumers agreed with the statement “technology makes my life better”, and 67% said they liked to keep up with tech trends.

But 67% of people quizzed for the report, Data Privacy and Brand Trust in Asia Pacific – Turning Risk into Opportunity, said they were “concerned” about the issue of privacy – 38% were “somewhat concerned” and 29% said they were “very concerned”.

Of the 4,099 people across seven countries in the region interviewed, only 10% said they were unconcerned about data privacy.

Researchers noted that concern was highest among people who are business and technology focused, while those who are far less troubled tend to be focused toward “family and lifestyle”.

The authors point out that this “makes sense intuitively and anecdotally – the prevalence of parents posting photos and information about their children online would be evidence.

“This also demonstrates a predicted future path for data privacy concern. As the knowledge of technology and data broadens beyond the business and technology focused, we could predict many more consumers becoming data privacy concerned,” they add.

The result of growing concern is that people are beginning to restrict what data they allow businesses to collect, with 56% saying they are already actively taking steps to do this. Actions can include anything from considering what photos are shared online, and whether phone numbers are shared, to installing ad blockers.

And around the region, almost a half of consumers say data-privacy concerns are stopping them buying smart home devices and home appliances connected to the internet – the second commonest reason after price.

Crucially, and a key lesson for brands, is that the biggest barrier to consumers adopting new technology is a feeling they are not in control of their data – 84% said they want more control over how their personal information is used.

“For there to be control, there needs to be transparency and choice,” write the report’s authors.

“At this stage, consumers may not be able to precisely articulate what the “control” they desire looks like, but as they become more aware of data privacy issues and the value their data has to organisations with whom they do business, they will become more calculating in terms of what they will accept and reject,” they add.

Sourced from GroupM; additional content by WARC staff