Thought leadership

The majority of UK consumers support the 'unwritten data contract' with brands, in which they get better and more relevant advertising and offers in return for providing some of their personal information.

That’s just one of the findings of the first-ever Data Attitudes Report from consumer intelligence experts Sky IQ, which commissioned Populus to survey over 3,000 UK adults for their views on data.

51% of people surveyed for Sky IQ’s report agreed that it’s useful for brands to know some information about them, compared to 19% who disagreed. Separately, 53% said they trust brands to act responsibly with their personal data – and again only 19% disagreed.

Sky IQ’s state of the nation report also found that a large majority of Brits are “data aware,” with 79% describing themselves as “careful” about the type of information they pass to organisations, while nearly half (48%) say data privacy is an issue they think about and 40% claim they’re quite up to speed with how companies can use their data.

Meanwhile the majority of consumers (63%) said they worry about how much personal data they reveal online. Despite – or perhaps because of – this, large numbers of people admitted to voluntarily giving away personal information online. For instance, 17% of social media users said they had uploaded a photo of items they’d just bought to a social network, while 18% had revealed where they were at any given moment through location-based services like Foursquare and Facebook Places.

Tony Mooney, deputy managing director at Sky IQ, said: “Marketers often talk about consumers understanding the quid pro quo of giving away some of their personal information in return for better service or relevant deals. We wanted to see if this ‘unwritten data contract’ between brands and consumers really existed, and it appears it does.

“But as levels of data awareness among British consumers are so high, there’s a clear risk to brands that they could lose this trust very quickly. It underlines the need for brands to communicate openly with their customers about how they collect, manage and use data, especially given the volumes of data shared on social media.”

Summary of key findings:

  • 51% agree it’s useful for brands to know some information about them, versus just 19% who disagree.


  • 53% trust brands with their data, while just 19% don’t.


  • The rise of “data aware” consumers– 79% are careful about what information they pass to organisations.

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