MEF’s 8th Annual Global Trust Study was carried out in February and March 2022. On behalf of MEF, On Device Research surveyed 6,500 smartphone users, 650 in each of 10 markets.  

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

Key Lessons for the Industry

  • A prime moment for education – With many users recognising their increased mobile usage due to the pandemic, and a general sense of improvement in the privacy and security of their personal data, this may be a prime moment to respond with further educational messaging and empowerment.
  • Regulation matters – In a world where many users take action but still feel exposed, regulation plays a critical role in championing user rights – and when understood by users it may boost safety perceptions, as observed in this year’s study.
  • Build trust in new tech developments like AI and VR – Lack of understanding surrounding some newer developments has the potential to seed mistrust. Information about what these developments are, how they work, and any shift in the data exchange dynamic they may involve, will be a critical part of their establishment and user acceptance.
  • Target solutions for social media – Social media is ever more pervasive, yet suffers low data security and transparency ratings. There is an opportunity for governments, regulators, tool providers and social media companies themselves to acknowledge this perception gap and set out ways for users to remain protected.

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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

  • Newer tech developments create uncertainty and potential mistrust

Only a minority express positivity towards developments such as Artificial Intelligence, with some unclear what they are about. This hesitancy is likely to be exacerbated by concerns over personal data control and security.

  • Users continue to lack confidence that any actions they take make them safer

Experiences of data harm remain prevalent, with most users feeling they lack adequate protection. Despite increasing numbers taking steps to protect their data, it remains difficult to assess the value of their actions.

  • The pandemic has reinforced the role of the mobile phone as a one-stop shop entertainment and life management tool

Most users feel their mobile usage has increased. We see penetration growth in functional activities such as food ordering and payments, increased frequency in leisure pursuits such as social media, music and gaming, and evolving video consumption habits.

  • Despite some incremental improvement, trust perceptions remain weak

A higher proportion than in the past agree that apps/services respect their privacy, and that they are in control of how their data is used. However, there remains much room for improvement. In particular, social media companies are looked to for reassurance on data transparency and security.

  • Regulation may be supporting improved perceptions of control and security of personal data

Significant improvements are observed in perceptions of personal data control and security, particularly in markets where regulation has come into force – South Africa, Brazil and China.

There is an extremely bright future for mobile apps and services. Mobile is the most ubiquitous consumer engagement platform on the planet, and we're just getting started. There are more than 5 billion unique mobile users globally today with another 2 billion people coming online in the next few years. I encourage you to read the MEF study in detail, learn about evolving consumer sentiments and the nexus of personal data, identity and trust, and strive to help all mobile users not just feel more protected but to truly be empowered.

Craig Thole,Senior Vice President, Assurant

Companies have left regulators to re-designing some of the principles for the personal data economy – a positive impact is felt with users appreciating the scrutiny. It is helping, and users are seeing these as improvements. However, the industry abdicating its role to establish confidence to regulators could backfire. It is the responsibility of all the ecosystem players to nurture industries that have long term potential. It will be the role of MEF to support more on these discussion in the next year.

Dario BettiCEO, MEF

Personal data and identity are the core of the world’s $11.7 billion data economy, The message from the people is clear—industry leaders need to do a better job. People do not trust businesses to collect and use personal data responsibly. Business leaders must build products, services, and experiences that respect the individual's sovereignty and fosters trust through secure and safe mutual value exchange that puts people in control of their data and identity

Michael BeckerCEO, Identity Praxis - Report co-author