Concern about sharing personal data remains high in both the US (80%) and the UK (74%), yet three in four consumers in both countries would be likely to share personal data if they understood the information was stored safely and securely.

In addition, the same proportion in the UK and two-thirds of consumers in the US would be likely to share personal data if the collector was clear about the need for their data and how it will be used.

And of special note for brands, almost two-thirds (64%) of Americans and 72% of British consumers would be more likely to share their personal data if the data collector was trusted and reliable.

These are some of the headline findings from a global study by ESOMAR, the research agency, HERE Technologies and their research partners BuzzBack Research and Cint.

Based on responses from more than 10,000 consumers in ten markets, the report argues that if brands are transparent about their data collection practices then this has the potential to have a significant impact on both consumer trust and sales.

However, while the great majority of consumers (87%) accept that it is their own responsibility to be aware of the organisations they share data with, most “don’t feel equipped to fulfil that responsibility”, the report found.

For example, three in four US and UK consumers agree that it’s “difficult to find information about how best to protect my privacy” – a view broadly shared in other global markets.

And 83% of US consumers, rising to 89% in the UK, believe legislation is essential to protect them against the misuse of personal data – yet only 28% agree that current laws and regulations ensure that no misuse of personal data occurs.

Despite these concerns, the study confirmed that global consumers have become more willing to share their data if it’s beneficial to them, such as by saving money or increasing their sense of security.

According to HERE Technologies, an open location platform, the willingness of consumers to share location data increased by two percentage points over the past year and this was most pronounced in the mobility sector.

The research found that three-quarters (76%) of consumers globally were “very likely” to share their location data with navigation and mapping services, public transport, taxis and ride-hailing firms.

However, as with other forms of data-sharing, trust in a reputable data collector is key as to whether consumers are willing to share their location.

“This study shows us that it is possible to collect the data that businesses need to provide and improve offers and services, while at the same time respecting the consumer through ethical and transparent data practices,” said Finn Raben, director general of ESOMAR.

“Not only can brands collect data, but they can improve trust and potentially boost revenue through transparency,” he added.

Sourced from ESOMAR, HERE Technologies; additional content by WARC staff