Consumers are beginning to realise the monetary value of their data, with a single piece of personal data valued at £13, according to a report from mobile operator Orange.
The Future of Digital Trust study, the mobile operator’s second research project exploring consumer attitudes relating to how businesses use their personal data, investigated 10 core types of data that people may be willing to share.
In total, the 2,023 adults polled considered the cumulative value of the ten types of data they would share with businesses, including email addresses and location data, to be worth £140.
It highlighted that consumers believe businesses they are unfamiliar with should pay more for access to their data – valuing it at £200 per ten pieces of data, or an average £15 for each piece.
This demonstrates the importance of businesses being transparent with their customers, according to the report.
The majority (80 per cent) of respondents said they know their personal data has a value for companies, with a further 78 per cent agreeing that this value increases the closer they match a brand’s target customer demographic.
Meanwhile more than two-thirds (67 per cent) of respondents said businesses benefit most from the sharing of data, while only six per cent said consumers benefit most, representing a “pronounced sense of imbalance” in the data value exchange between consumers and businesses, according to the report.
Orange strategy director Simon Best told The Drum the fact that so few respondents believe themselves to be getting a good value exchange for their data was “striking”.
He added: “It’s surprising that so many thought that the corporations were getting a better deal than them – the main services like search and social networks are free and yet they still feel they are getting a bad deal.
“That just highlights the need for more education on how and why their data is being used. There is an onus on all businesses to help improve the education of consumers on what is happening with their data, and give them the tools to help them – so they can decide if they don’t want to share those pieces of data.”
Orange is in the midst of developing a privacy dashboard, as part of its commitment to improving transparency with consumers. This will be available via the MyOrange app, and from it consumers will be able to see how much and what kind of data they would need to share for each app on their phone. They can then decide whether or not they want to continue sharing that data.
A total of 77 per cent of respondents in the study said it is either “very important” or “critical” for mobile operators to inform them about how their data is being used.
The core data types people were asked about included purchase history, location, email addresses of themselves and friends and families, date of birth, and personal income .
The report showed a contrast in the kind of data consumers and businesses deem most valuable. For example, family friends’ emails or personal income data were cited as the most valuable sets of data with people less willing to share this information.
Nearly two-thirds (59 per cent) said they would “never” share the email addresses of five personal contacts.
However, only 39 per cent said they would “never” share mobile purchase history, location and personal demographic data with businesses, with 35 per cent saying they wouldn’t share their date of birth.
The report, conducted by Loudhouse, polled the views of adults who have a mobile phone across the UK, France, Poland and Spain.