Data surrender is the price of participation in digital life. Are brands sacrificing long-term trust? 83% of consumers are now taking action to protect personal data on their phone, but despite this, perceptions of data control and data security have worsened.

MEF’s annual global consumer trust study, now in its 6th year, is the barometer for attitudes and behaviours towards trust in personal data on mobile.

This year’s Trust Report, supported by Assurant, found overall usage of apps and services has increased with the average number of activities growing from 2.5 to 2.7 in 2019, out of 7 key service types.

Over two thirds of users agree it is important to know how their data is being used, but the study also found that many feel they have no choice but to sign away their data and rights if they want to use digital services.

There is a clear need for genuine user empowerment over personal data.

Overall usage of apps and services has increased with the average number of activities growing from 2.5 to 2.7 in 2019, out of 7 key service types. Over two thirds of users agree it is important to know how their data is being used, but the study also found that many feel they have no choice but to sign away their data and rights if they want to use digital services.

Privacy remains as critical as ever, with 71% of users rating it as important. Users are far more likely to trust themselves to manage their personal data than any external organisation (56%). This is an increase of 13% year on year and rapidly becoming an established trend.

The study found more users are taking both reactive and preventative actions to minimise potential harm they may experience from unauthorised access or misuse of their data, with nearly a quarter of respondents proactively managing cookies or changing privacy settings.  37% of users have deleted or stopped using an app they did not trust.

However, even though users’ actions have increased in the last 12 months, these actions do not appear to have positively influenced users’ feelings toward their ability to control their data.  Such levels of privacy and data exchange concerns among users suggest the current ‘data for access’ business models may not be sustainable.

In the 50-page insights report, MEF’s CEO Dario Betti issues a clear call to action to industry: “Brands have an opportunity to build trust and thereby increase revenues, reduce cart abandonment and customer churn by advancing new personal data management and protection approaches. They must empower consumers and go beyond compliance to industry-standard privacy and data regulations, such as GDPR and CCPA.”

Craig Thole, Senior Vice President, Product at Assurant who supported this year’s study, concurred: “Now is the time to act, as digital connections throughout society will continue to grow unabated. In fact, IDC predicts that by 2025 individuals will interact with a connected device nearly 4,800 times a day, or nearly every 3 seconds. As industry leaders I encourage all of us to band together and help people protect what matters most. That is, let’s develop and deliver the practices, policies, interoperable standards, and solutions that will help people securely and safely access the Internet and digital services as they desire without having to forgo their privacy and security. Let’s give them what they want – control and sovereignty of their digital identity and personal data”.

MEF Webinar: Declining global consumer trust, Industry Lessons

Join our webinar TODAY, 4PM UK / 8AM PST to get an exclusive briefing on the report findings from MEF’s CEO Dario Betti, report analyst Barbara Langer and Michael Becker, Strategic Advisor, Assurant.

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