MEF’s 6th 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 supported by Assurant is the barometer for consumer attitudes and behaviours towards trust in personal data on mobile. Field research was carried out in Q4 2019 in Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, South Africa, Spain, UK and USA.

The report issues a stark warning to brands: Trust is weakening with over two thirds of users opting to not download, purchase or use apps and services they do not trust.

Key Findings

  • Trust is in decline, impacting the bottom line
  • More users are taking preventative actions but the benefit is unclear
  • Users want to be in control of their data
  • Data surrender is the price of participation

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Executive Summary

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

  • Trust is in decline, impacting the bottom line

A number of indicators suggest a weakening of trust since 2018, including a stronger sense of risk around data sharing and worsening perceptions of data security. 34% of the 6,500 respondents cited ‘I don’t want them to have my data’, ‘I don’t trust the security’ or ‘I’ve read/heard negative stories’ as primary barriers to using more mobile apps and services.

  • Users want to be in control of their data

A number of indicators suggest a weakening of trust since 2018, including a stronger sense of risk around data sharing and worsening perceptions of data security. 34% of the 6,500 respondents cited ‘I don’t want them to have my data’, ‘I don’t trust the security’ or ‘I’ve read/heard negative stories’ as primary barriers to using more mobile apps and services.

  • More users are taking preventative actions but the benefit is unclear

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’ preventative actions have increased, these actions do not appear to have positively influenced perceptions of having control over data, nor has it weakened trust as a barrier to mobile services usage.

  • Data surrender is the price of participation

An increasing number of users report using digital services, and they appear to understand that access to their data is the price they must pay to use mobile apps and services.

“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”

Craig Thole, VP ProductAssurant