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In May 2018 the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will be implemented. Consumers will be compelled to give permission before any of their data is collected by a company, and that data must be transferrable and deleted, or returned on request.

The regulation is a significant step in placing the consumer in control of who uses their data and how it is used.  At the same time the business models of apps and services often rely on personal data to help monetise their offerings.

MEF’s 4th annual Consumer Trust Study (which surveyed 6,500 smartphone users in 10 countries) found that 86% of us will take some kind of action if trust is challenged. Almost half will stop using a service and nearly one in three (30%) warn friends and family about bad experiences.

Here are 12 trust takeaways from the report.

A lack of Consumer Trust is restricting growth

  1. For three years in a row, consumers cite a lack of trust as the main reason for not using more apps and services. The number of respondents naming one or more trust issues as the most important barrier to using apps and services increased from 35 to 40% – a 15% year-on-year increase.
  1. Privacy (16%) remains the most influential trust-related concern, closely followed by security (15%).
  1. The number of mobile users who said that a lack of trust completely prevents them from buying, downloading or using apps rose this year from 14 to 25%.

What makes an app or service trustworthy?

  1. Consumers value transparency. 33% of respondents stated that a clear and simple privacy statement helps to make an app or service trustworthy.
  1. Brand recognition and peer recommendation also help to be build trust. 32% want to recognize the brand that is behind the app or service whilst 29% cited positive media coverage and 27% said recommendations from peers had a positive impact on an app or service’s trustworthiness.
  1. By the same token, negative reviews (43%), news stories and feedback from friends and family (both 36%) are cited as grounds for mistrust.

Screen Shot 2017-02-20 at 12.55.59Consumers value apps and services that put them in control

  1. The EU’s General Data Protection regulation (GDPR) is less than one year away. It expands the rights of EU citizens around the transparency, privacy and protection of their personal data. Judging by the research, consumers agree with these central regulatory themes. When asked what would help build trust in app and services, almost half (42%) replied that they wanted to be able to have their data deleted.
  1. 40% of respondents said they wanted to be able to withdraw permission for their personal data to be used and 38% want transparency and to have control over whether their data is shared with third parties.
  1. A further 37% want to be able to decide what kind of information is shared and 28% want to choose how long data is stored before being automatically deleted.

Who do consumers trust to manage their data?

  1. The majority of respondents (67%) want to take on the management of their own data. Good news for service providers in the so-called Personal Data Economy. These businesses allow users to control who can and can’t access their personal information with proactive consumers rewarded in some way for engaging in a data value-exchange.
  1. When it comes to the organisations that are most trusted to manage data, mobile users identified two clear favourites. Banks and credit card companies came top with 46% with doctors and hospitals close behind at 45%.

The MEF Global Consumer Trust Report 2017

The 4th annual MEF Consumer Trust Study is part of MEF’s Consumer Trust Initiative established in 2011, a multi-stakeholder working group united by a commitment to drive best practice and innovation when it comes to consumer data and is part of the group’s ongoing education programme to raise awareness of the importance of privacy, security and identity.

The 50 page report includes charts and analysis looking at:

  • Drivers and impact of trust in the mobile ecosystem
  • Behaviours, attitudes and motivations when it comes to personal data and key data protection principles
  • Consumer appetite for data-driven products and services
  • Country comparisons

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