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Press Release
1 in 5 Consumers Has Avoided Buying a Brand Over Its Data Practices: Survey Finds Widespread Skepticism Over How Companies Collect and Use Personal Data
17 November, 2020

From websites to wearables, today’s companies are collecting richer data on their users than ever before—and promising to deliver more convenient, personalized, and cost-effective experiences in return. But many consumers are skeptical, according to a survey by The Conference Board in collaboration with Nielsen.

In the survey of more than 30,000 consumers across 63 global markets, over 20% of respondents report having reduced or abandoned their use of a brand or company due to data privacy concerns. Moreover, 19% report having switched to or selected a competitor company for its better data policies.

 “Overall, the results suggest a need—and opportunity—for companies to overcome consumers’ skepticism and relieve their anxiety,” said Denise Dahlhoff, Senior Researcher at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ digital engagement has skyrocketed during the pandemic, making transparency about data practices more important than ever before.”

The report detailing the findings, Consumers' Attitudes about Data Practices, captures consumers’ perceptions, preferences, and behaviors when it comes to companies’ practices regarding the collection and usage of personal data. Additional findings include:

Globally, just half of consumers are confident they would recognize “fake news.”

  • In the US, 47% agree or strongly agree that they would be able to spot fabricated videos, pictures, and news items.
  • That proportion falls to 37% in Africa & the Middle East, whereas 54% of Asia-Pacific consumers are convinced of their ability to discern fake content.

Worldwide, nearly half of consumers don’t believe customized content is worth being tracked by companies.

  • 44% of consumers globally would be willing to forego customized content—such as personalized messages, offers and experiences—in exchange for not having their personal data collected.
  • US consumers are especially reticent: Over 57% would give up customization for greater privacy.


Globally, consumers mostly prefer government-run agencies as the entity to oversee data privacy.

  • However, for consumers in North America and Latin America, private consumer advocacy groups are as popular as government-run consumer protection agencies.


Media can contact The Conference Board for a copy of the report featuring the survey results.

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