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There is a disconnect between the privacy expectations of consumers and the actions of marketers, claims research

More than a quarter (27%) of UK marketers believe individual privacy is an outdated concept. This is despite 94% of consumers saying they would not be willing to exchange their data for more relevant or personalised product recommendations. That’s according to research from software company Episerver, released in the company’s 2018 Reimagining Commerce report.

Key findings

  • 96% of consumers are unwilling to share their phone numbers
  • 93% of consumers refuse to knowingly share their location
  • 98% of consumers say they would not knowingly provide access to their social media data
  • 25% of consumers say they are disappointed when brands do not personalise their experiences
  • 22% of consumers say they are more likely to purchase from brands using personalisation.

The disconnect between wanting privacy at the same time as wanting personalisation represents a delicate balance for brands to strike in the post-GDPR era.

Discussing how brands are failing to respect consumer privacy, Ed Kennedy, senior director of commerce at Episerver, says: “In the face of GDPR, it’s surprising to see so many marketers and PR professionals still failing to take the issue of data privacy seriously. Whilst the idea that personal privacy is dying out has been around for decades, the massive international reaction to recent data privacy scandals proves that consumers continue to place a value on their private data.

“One of the most common myths among marketers is that, when faced with a choice between improved experiences and greater privacy, consumers will always prioritise experience. In reality, these two ideas aren’t exclusive.”

Kennedy has some suggestions as to how brands should change their attitudes and behaviour: “In this new era of data privacy, companies that openly communicate what data they gather, why they gather it, and that they value their relationship with consumers, will be at an advantage. This will require companies to move beyond high-volume messaging and shallow data profiles. Companies must now develop meaningful content, embrace progressive profiling and store more data about each consumer. They should expect campaign conversion rates to increase as a result, for volumes to go down, and for companies to target consumers more effectively.”


Episerver used an independent research agency to conduct a survey of over 4,000 consumers across the UK, US, Germany and the Nordics. Of those surveyed 1,007 were based in the UK. This study was conducted alongside separate research asking 106 UK marketing professionals for their views on the future of the retail-marketing industry.

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