APAC consumers ranked the misuse of data as the number one source of distrust in the technology industry, according to a new dentsu international study.

However, despite this lack of trust, consumer appetite for the services provided by Big Tech remains strong. The adoption of tech platforms is still growing, exponentially so during the pandemic. Messaging across Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp increased by 50% in countries most affected by the virus and in April, Twitter saw a 23% increase in daily users from the previous year.

“Clearly, our distrust in the tech industry is not strong enough to discourage us from using its products and services when we feel most in need,” the report noted.

The report analysis also found that people generally don’t believe it is acceptable for businesses to use any type of personal data to improve the services they deliver. For APAC markets, level of education (32%) was the most acceptable data point, followed by name and age (30%), email address (27%) and social media profiles and activity (24%). The least acceptable were sexual preference (10%), religion (10%), medical records (12%) and ethnicity (17%).

As the marketing industry continues its mission to offer increasingly personalised messaging to target consumers, the study found that while consumers want personalisation, they may not necessarily welcome personalised advertising.

A third (32%) of people globally have opted out of receiving personalised adverts while in APAC markets, only Hong Kong (31%), New Zealand (35) and Singapore (38%) ranked above the global average with Japan (10%) the lowest.

The dentsu report noted that it is younger respondents (aged 18 to 34) who are more inclined to have taken this action. “Having grown up using technology, this may suggest that younger generations have the digital skills and knowledge required to effectively manage their own data. With its volume and complexity, less tech-savvy consumers may find achieving this more difficult.”

When it came to the level of trust around personal data for other industries, the study found that APAC markets tend to be more trusting. For example, over half of the people in China trust retailers with their personal data, compared to three out of ten globally. Government agencies, utilities and travel companies were the top three most trusted verticals in APAC when it came to personal data while media and entertainment companies were the least trusted.

The study also found that consumers expect to receive financial benefits in exchange for organisations using their data in the next 2-3 years. This expectation was most acute in China (65%) and Singapore (51%) while Hong Kong (36%) and Japan (26%) ranked lower.

“While this trend of data monetisation has been evolving for some years now, in markets such as China the expectation in the minds of consumers is clear. However, contrast that expectation with what is happening today: just one in ten people have sold their personal data over the last 12 months,” said dentsu.

The agency stated that the use of personal data has steadily climbed up the agenda of people, businesses and governments alike. “The COVID-19 pandemic does not change this—if anything, the crisis highlights how personal data increasingly can be harnessed to enable our everyday lives in a virtual setting. Therefore, it is imperative that brands prioritise understanding the benefits and risks associated with personal data moving forward.”

The Decoding Data Dynamics: Digital Society Index 2020 report was based on a survey of 32,000 people across 22 markets.

Sourced from dentsu international