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Four in 10 consumers around the world are concerned with the amount of personal data that companies have on them, reports Kantar TNS in its annual Connected Life study, which is based on a survey of 70,000 consumers across 56 countries. Levels of concern vary widely across countries, with the US on the high end of the scale, with 6 in 10 concerned.

Recent research has found that a majority (56%) of North Americans are more concerned about their privacy on the internet than they were a year ago.

The Kantar TNS study indicates that privacy concerns are taking precedence over convenience for many: 43% of respondents globally are against connected devices monitoring their activities, even if that makes their lives easier.

Lack of trust may also be bleeding over to mobile commerce: the study found a majority (54%) of consumers in the US not wanting to pay for anything with their mobile device. While privacy concerns were not explicitly identified as the cause for this hesitancy, they are implied. Indeed, separate research indicates that lack of trust prevents almost half of mobile users across 10 countries from buying, downloading or using apps on their phone.

Can Social Media Be Trusted?

Consumers are notoriously distrusting of levels of data privacy on social media: research once found them as likely to trust foreign secret service organizations.

In an era of fake news, those concerns are now extending to the information found on social platforms. Again, views differ widely on this particular aspect: 61% of Indonesian consumers trust the information they consume on social media, while just 9% of Swedish consumers concur. In North America, half of the respondents said they’re concerned about social networks’ control of what people see in their feeds.

Other Highlights:

Other results from the report demonstrate that:

  • Close to 1 in 3 consumers around the world find the content posted on social media by brands to be irrelevant, with that figure much higher in Finland (66%), France (57%), Australia (47%) and Israel (45%);
  • One-third have no problems using companies that only offer online customer service, though that’s outweighed by the 35% who require offline options as well; and
  • While most consumers in China (57%) and Nigeria (54%) trust large global brands, just 21% in the US and 15% in France do so, as business faces a credibility gap around the world.

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