Consumers are getting clued up on how their data is used – is your business ready?

Posted on by Jo Shaw

Estimated read time: 3 mins

In the digitally-connected world, people are becoming more attuned to the way companies use their data to make decisions.

The growing number of smart devices now available – which include activity watches, phones, home heating systems and kettles – means more personal data is being shared across networks, giving businesses insights into almost every aspect of our daily lives. In fact, by 2020, Intel estimates that as many as 200 billion devices will be connected to the internet, the equivalent of 26 smart objects per person in the world.1

While some consumers might be concerned about sharing their personal data, particularly sensitive financial information, others are happy to share details if it results in personalised offers and experiences.

To get a better understanding of the nation’s attitude to how their data is managed, we commissioned a study, which involved speaking to 3,000 individuals across the UK. These findings, explored below, highlight some interesting trends around data protection that will impact on your business decisions.

A curious nation

It turns out that many Brits are intrigued by what is written about them online, with almost three-quarters admitting they have searched for themselves. So prolific is the activity that it even has its own name – ‘egosurfing’. Of this group, more than 80% said they were doing so purely out of curiosity, while 21% said they were concerned about protecting their online reputation.

Surfing for information about yourself (or friends and family) is one thing, but if you want to know what customers, suppliers and credit providers see when they search for your company, Experian’s My Business Profile is a good place to start. Knowing your business credit score gives you real data on which to act, setting you on the path to better rates for financial products and business growth.

Generation game

Our survey also revealed a stark difference in attitudes to data protection among different age groups. While 86% of 25 to 34-year-olds know how their data is used and feel they can control it, only 61% of over-55s think the same. The youngest group (those aged between 16 and 24) seem more relaxed about sharing data, with 39% saying they never read an app’s T&Cs when downloading it.

Of course, as custodians of data, you have a legal and ethical responsibility to ensure everyone’s details are managed correctly, no matter what their age. This includes fully transparent terms of service, strong communications and an opportunity to opt-out of marketing materials.

For more details on Experian’s My Business Profile, and to start your 30-day free trial, click here.

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