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Study: 39% of UK public don’t trust marketers with their personal data

Consumer trust plummets as it is believed brands routinely disregard GDPR rules

Mounting consumer mistrust of brands is attributed to the widespread violation of GDPR rules in an eye-opening new report published by a digital experience platform.

Acquia’s fourth annual Customer Experience Trends report found that 39% of UK consumers do not trust marketers to safeguard their data, attributable to the fact that the vast majority (87%) receive marketing communications from brands that they have no recollection of opting in for.

The damning report lays bare an alarming disconnect between what marketers say and what they do, with no less than 99% claiming they adhere to rules enshrining consumer privacy in law. This head-in-sand approach leads 87% to believe consumers trust their handling of personal data more than last year, in stark opposition to real-world sentiment.

The research drew upon responses of 1,000 consumers and 100 marketers from across the UK to find that a worrying 24% of the public received daily unsolicited communications, undermining confidence in GDPR to enforce explicit consent.

In this environment, 69% of consumers report being sanguine about handing over personal data in return for improved services, a significant increase from 2020 when the proportion stood at 57%.

Tom Bianchi, Europe chief marketing officer of Acquia, said: “With the vast majority of UK consumers receiving communication they are unaware of consenting to, we are almost certainly looking at a widespread violation of GDPR rules.

“Not only does this have legal ramifications, but unsolicited marketing breaks consumer trust and risks long-term damage to brand equity. Marketers are rightly recognizing that to restore trust, greater emphasis must be placed on first-party strategies, with our findings clearly demonstrating how these lead to increased customer loyalty and spend.”

Marketers have been forced to rethink strategies in the wake of a shifting regulatory environment, with 57% adopting consent-driven personalization as first-party data grows in importance in the eyes of 93% of marketers – 54% of whom have invested in customer data platforms over the past 18 months.

Acquia reports that 62% of marketers benefited from increased consumer brand engagement as a result of personalization strategies, witnessing increased conversions (55%), better responses to discount offers (48%) and improved email open rates (40%).

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