The Consumer Barometer of IFH Köln and KPMG shows: For six out of ten consumers, it is a given to provide personal information on the Internet. Data disclosure also has limits though: The protection of their data is very important for 84 percent of all Germans.

The Basic Data Protection Regulation entered into force on 25 May. The requirements are causing a stir: “Many companies have taken too little care of data protection in the past and therefore have some catching up to do,” explains Bitkom President Achim Berg. At the same time, however, the regulation also puts its finger in the wound: customers want to know what happens to their data. For them, a certain amount of data disclosure is a given when shopping online: “Consumers are divided on the subject of digital security. While most people say they are careful when it comes to handling personal data online, many see disclosing such data as an indispensable part of modern communication,” said Mark Sievers, Head of Consumer Markets at KPMG.

Data disclosure versus data misuse: a double-edged sword

There are reasons for caution: One in four respondents has already been the victim of data abuse. Therefore, many people try to protect their own data better. Three quarters of respondents take security precautions to avoid falling victim to a hacker attack. About the same number of consumers make sure when shopping on the net that they visit online shops via a secure connection. This is where retailers can score points if they offer such a line for their online services. Incidentally, customers trust their banks and health insurance companies the most when handling their data (87 percent). This puts these institutions ahead of stationary retailers (78 percent) and online retailers which 70 percent of respondents rated as trustworthy when it comes to data security. Many consumers are sceptical about social media.

Consumers are particularly willing to provide data for loyalty cards

At the same time, customers know that data disclosure is an indispensable part of modern communication today. This enables them to use digital services in everyday life. Consumers make their data available particularly frequently in order to collect loyalty points with loyalty cards (87 percent) or to take part in competitions (81 percent). Tools that record movement or health data are also popular: six out of ten respondents already use them or can imagine doing so in the future. Dr. Kai Hudetz, Managing Director of IFH Köln, recommends the following to retailers: “Services that offer visible added value are a basic requirement for consumers to provide their data. Dealers must therefore clearly communicate the benefits. Transparency is and remains the be-all and end-all to increase trustworthiness in the eyes of consumers”.


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