MEF’s 7th annual Global Trust Report explores the smartphone and digital services usage of 6,500 smartphone users across 10 countries and considers their attitudes in relation to privacy, personal data, and trust.

The 10-market study is the barometer for consumer attitudes and behaviours towards trust in personal data on mobile. Field research was carried out in Q1 2021 in Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, South Africa, Spain, UK and USA.

The report reveals that the industry is falling short of expectations across key privacy and security dimensions despite increasing numbers of users taking action to protect themselves.

Key Findings

  • Users sacrifice privacy and security for access to valued services
  • Smartphone users begin to sense improvement in the mobile environment
  • More and more users take protective steps, but remain exposed to harm
  • Protective actions do not necessarily drive confidence
  • Cost, knowledge and perceived complexity are key barriers
  • Transparency and control are key values for users

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About Assurant

Assurant, Inc. (NYSE: AIZ) is a leading global provider of lifestyle and housing solutions that support, protect and connect major consumer purchases. Anticipating  the evolving needs of consumers, Assurant partners with the world’s leading brands to develop innovative products and services and to deliver an enhanced customer experience.

A Fortune 500 company with a presence in 21 countries, Assurant offers mobile device solutions; extended service contracts; vehicle protection services; pre-funded funeral insurance; renters insurance; lender-placed insurance products; and other specialty products. The Assurant Foundation strengthens communities by supporting charitable partners that help protect where people live and can thrive, connect with local resources, inspire inclusion and prepare leaders of the future.

Key Findings

  • Users sacrifice privacy and security for access to valued services

While user expectations are generally met for ease and convenience, the perceived experience falls far short when it comes to privacy and security, particularly for women and those aged over 45. This results in less usage of services.

  • Smartphone users begin to sense improvement in the mobile environment

A significant minority believe that privacy controls and security have improved in the past year. However, many others do not perceive any change, resulting in an uneasy value equation when it comes to sharing personal data.

  • More and more users take protective steps, but remain exposed to harm

The trend for taking protective action has continued, however, exposure to data harm is as prevalent as ever and few consider themselves fully protected.

  • Protective actions do not necessarily drive confidence

Smartphone users’ sense of well-being is mixed. Our new segmentation reveals that those who take the most protective action still feel at risk, while those who consider themselves most confident are in fact the least likely to have taken protective actions or to have experienced harm.

  • Cost, knowledge and perceived complexity are key barriers

Users could take more preventive action to defend their personal data but many lack the knowledge to navigate their options or report that services are too expensive.

  • Transparency and control are key values for users

To increase user confidence when sharing personal data with mobile apps and services, the top requirement is transparency and control over what data is stored.

“As an industry, we need to ensure people can obtain secure, cross-platform access to their apps, services, and data, and trust that they are truly being protected. We need to give them personal data management and exchange capabilities. We need to provide them with digital rights management and guardianship tools. We need to give them clear and transparent security utilities. And, perhaps most importantly, we need to provide them with easily accessible, unambiguous, and actionable personal information management education and support.”

Craig Thole, VP ProductAssurant