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Six in 10 US adults say they are at least somewhat concerned about data privacy, with younger generations being less concerned about their data privacy than older adults. And, while a majority of the more than 1,000 US smartphone users aged 18-65 years surveyed for a report [download page] by Factual say they believe that their data is used to personalize experiences and products, they also believe that companies reap more of the benefits from data collection than consumers do.

Respondents were most concerned about theft/fraud (72%) and stolen passwords (64%) when it came to their data privacy, although 3 in 5 (59%) say they are concerned about not knowing what their personal information is being used for.

One thing they do believe is that their data is used for personalization, with 59% agreeing that this is the case.

But do they really believe that data collection and usage really benefits them, as consumers?

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of the adults surveyed say they either strongly agree (30%) or somewhat agree (33%) that companies and brands benefit from data collection and usage, with only 11% disagreeing with this statement. On the other hand, when asked if they felt that consumers benefit from data collection and usage, fewer than half (44%) of respondents agreed that this was true, and twice as many (22%) disagreed.

What Role Does Personalization Play In Data Sharing?

Roughly half (52%) of respondents say they are willing to share data with companies if they know the link between the data they are sharing and the benefits of sharing the data. This aligns with research last year by Vision Critical, which found that a majority of online shoppers feel more comfortable sharing information when brands proactively tell them what it will be used for.

That being said, the data from Factual suggests that personalization may not necessarily be seen as a benefit in the eyes of consumers. Indeed, only about one-third (32%) of respondents say they would share information about themselves in order to receive personalized content. Additionally, a recent study by the Advertising Research Foundation found that even when tempted with the option for more personalization in exchange for personal data, consumers were not willing to part with certain personal information. In fact, some respondents were even less willing to supply information when offered a more personalized experience.

While these findings may indicate that consumers are leery of personalization and, clearly, some marketing practices are thought to be annoying or creepy, Factual also found that some respondents agree that personalization improves their digital experience (39%), helps them find products they like (53%) and makes them feel like advertisers care about what they want (36%).

Comfort in Sharing Location Data is Low

Another study from Factual found that a large majority (84%) of mobile marketers are using location data as part of their marketing and advertising efforts, with even more planning to do so in order to achieve KPIs such as improving audience engagement and customer experience. Yet, according to this latest study, only 34% of respondents agree that they are comfortable sharing their location data for marketing purposes, while 40% disagree with this statement.

In the past 12 months, respondents say they have adjusted privacy settings on their mobile phone (49%) and social media (48%), paid close attention to privacy agreements (46%) and adjusted location sharing settings on their mobile phone in order to take more control over the location data that is being shared.

The report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: Factual surveyed 1,002 US smartphone users between the ages of 18-65 years old.

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