Half of customers will be less willing to share personal information online in next five years

Nearly half of customers (49 per cent) admit they will be less willing to share personal information with firms online over the next five years, research from Ernst & Young has found.

The survey, of just over 2,000 consumers and 748 senior business decision makers, also found that 71 per cent of business executives are not preparing for a future where customer data is not freely available.

Steve Wilkinson, Ernst & Young’s managing partner for UK & Ireland markets, told Retail Gazette: “Everything from web browsing behaviour to social media and interactions with the brand can be used to improve business processes, decisions, customer experiences, and identify competitive differentiators. However, many customers have recognised that businesses are using their personal information to help grow revenues, and are starting to withdraw access to their private data.

“Many of today’s businesses are reliant on customer-generated information as an important source of data for customer insight programmes. With companies investing large sums in developing their capabilities to gather customer information as part of big data strategies, organisations need to start reviewing existing schemes to future-proof investments after the Golden Age of free information comes to an end.”

Over three quarters (78 per cent) of consumers agreed their data enables companies to make more money.

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