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High-profile data breaches and a growing consumer desire to know how user information is gathered, stored and brokered underlines just how central the issue of consumer trust is in mobile.

Supported by Mozilla and bics, MEF’s recently published Consumer Trust eBulletin explores these issues and offers insights on regulation, market stats, and via MEF’s white paper – Understanding the Personal Data Economy – a closer look at the idea that consumers can actively participate in how their personal data is used – a model premised on a value exchange that is built on trust and informed user consent.

Below we’ve identified 16 statistics from recent analyst reports and market information to highlight the hurdles and opportunities that typify the issue of consumer trust in the mobile sector.

MEF’s Consumer Trust eBulletin which can be downloaded here for free.


Perhaps one of the most outward signs of how much consumers trust mobile apps and services with their data is the growing use of ad-blockers.

1. A report from Anatomy Media that surveyed 2,700 US adults ages 18 to 24 found that nearly half of respondents (46%) said they use an ad blocker on their desktop, and 31% said they have one on their mobile device.

2. There are nearly 200 million monthly active users (MAU) of ad-block software globally, according to data from a study by PageFair and Adobe.

3. Elsewhere, a Media Kix report indicates that 25% of US and European smartphone users have downloaded an ad-blocker with nearly 10% of people claiming to have done so since November 2015.

4. Whilst Adobe claims that the practice of ad-blocking is up 10% year-on-year in the US from 2015 – 2016.

Consumers and personal data

5. Personal control matters a lot to people. According to Pew Research, 74% of consumers say it is “very important” to them that they be in control of who can get information about them, and 65% say it is “very important” to them to control what information is collected about them.

6. MEF’s Global Consumer Trust Report 2016, found 41% of mobile users identified themselves as ‘reluctant sharers’ of their personal data.

7. The same report revealed that almost half (47%) said they would pay extra for apps which guaranteed the data collected would not be shared with third parties, while more than 1 in 6 (17%) were willing to pay a premium to ensure their data is protected.

8. The Pew Research also indicates that 47% said they were not confident that they understood how their information would be used whilst 91% agree or strongly agree that consumers have lost control of how personal information is collected and used by companies.

9. The Chartered Institute of Marketing’s (CIM) latest study found that nine in 10 people have no idea what companies do with the personal information they hold. And significantly, 57% say they do not trust an organisation to use their data responsibly.

10 The CIM report also indicates that 51% of consumers have received communications from companies they believe to have misused their data, with 17% saying “it happens all the time”. 70% of consumers still fail to see the benefit of sharing their personal data at all.

11. A frequent misdemeanour is spam messaging on mobile. MEF’s Mobile Messaging Fraud Report 2016 found that 49% of chat app users and 58% of SMS users get an unsolicited message at least once a week. Worryingly, 33% said that they had received a SMiShing message aiming to trick them into disclosing personal data such as bank details or passwords for online services.

12. More than half of the UK’s millennials (52%) are concerned about having their identity stolen through online, or mobile/app-based activities and 84% of do not believe that their personal information is fully protected online according to research by LexisNexis Risk Solutions.

Consumer trust is a matter of compliance?

13. An analysis of almost 18,000 free apps from the Google Play store by Carnegie Mellon University found almost half lacked a privacy policy, even though 71% of appear to be processing personally identifiable information.

14. For those that had policies 41% were collecting location information and 17% were sharing that information with third parties without stating so in their privacy policy.

15. The CIM report mentioned above indicates that while 71% of consumers do not like the idea of sharing their location, 20% of marketers are already collecting that data. Furthermore, less than half of marketers surveyed understood data protection law and just a third said they were transparent about how they collect data.

16. A global survey from Dell Technologies has found a general lack of awareness regarding the upcoming EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the legislation that enshrines online privacy and consumer consent in law. It found that 97% of companies do not have a plan in place for when GDPR kicks off in 2018 and 80% said they know few details or nothing about GDPR.

Download the free Consumer Trust eBulletin now

Supported by Mozilla and bics, this eBulletin examines the issue of Consumer Trust in the mobile ecosystem. 

It takes an in-depth look at the business models, regulatory landscape and market drivers that are shaping mobile business through the lens of Consumer Trust and includes discussion on a healthy Internet from Chris Riley, head of public policy at Mozilla, a look at the influence of the forthcoming GDPR from senior security & risk analyst Chris Sherman at Forrester as well as a guide to global regulation, market forecasts and much more.