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Only 36% of marketers and business leaders in Europe claim to have even heard of GDPR, which is slated to go into effect in May 2018, according to newly-released research from HubSpot. Moreover, fewer than one-third know that the GDPR is officially in effect in 2018.

It’s not the first piece of research to find some complacency about the upcoming regulations.

Recent research from Ensighten, for example, found that only 28% of marketers expect their websites to be compliant by the May 25th deadline. Separately, a survey of privacy professionals in the US and EU from IAPP and TrustArc [download page] revealed that close to one-quarter in Europe believe they won’t be ready by the deadline. And a study from Thales eSecurity [download page] discovered that 53% of C-level executives in the US remain optimistic that the GDPR will have no effect on their business operations whatsoever, with more than one-third in the US, UK and Germany believing they won’t be fully prepared by the deadline.

European Consumers Say They’ll Take Action

HubSpot’s research indicates that after being briefed on the GDPR, the vast majority of consumers in various European countries agreed that the regulations are good for consumers. Fully 91% of those surveyed in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Switzerland want companies to be 100% transparent about how and when they’re going to use their data.

One key rule of the GDPR allows for consumers to request that all of their data be completely erased by the organization that collected the data. And as it turns out, European consumers seem willing to take advantage of that: given the option, fully half said they would ask for a company to delete their records completely.

Likewise, more than half would opt out of having their information stored (55%), request to see all the data that a company has on them (55%) and opt out of receiving a tracking cookie (54%).

Moreover, in the Thales survey, 58% of UK consumers claimed that they would at least consider initiating legal action against a company that had failed to comply with GDPR rules when managing their personal data. Roughly 8 in 10 would consider switching companies based on GDPR non-compliance, and about 7 in 10 might report such an organization to an appropriate industry watchdog.

What’s driving these feelings? Both the HubSpot and Thales surveys find a large degree of mistrust on consumers’ side about the way in which their personal data is handled.

How Are Marketers Reacting?

As mentioned above, there seems to be a worrying degree of complacency about GDPR on an organizational level. Indeed, recent research from Warc found relatively few brands or agencies feeling that this should be a worry for them in 2018.

Businesses are taking some actions, though, per HubSpot. Most commonly, they’re updating their contracts and data protection policies (44%), with some liaising with vendors that process personal data to update contracts (32%) and implementing/optimizing IT security (32%).

But, as it seems, there’s a lot more work to be done…

About the Data: The HubSpot study is based on a survey of 363 C-level executives and marketers in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Switzerland and on 3,017 consumers in those countries.

Thales’ research is based on a survey of 2,000 consumers in the UK and Germany and 1,500 C-level executives in the UK, US and Germany.

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