Half of all consumers are concerned about identity theft, while over three-quarters are totally against their data being sold on, according to a global study from KPMG.
The international survey of 25,000 consumers, which included GCC countries, show a number of concerns that trouble most consumers and high expectations that companies respect consumers' data.
The 2018 ‘Me, my life, my wallet' report, shows that 51% of consumers are anxious about identity theft; 48% about the hacking of financial, medical, or other personal info online; 46% about theft of credit card info when shopping online, and 38% unauthorized tracking of their online habits by companies, governments or criminals.
Eighty-five percent of consumers want firms to protect their information without having to ask, and 77% are against their data being sold on.
Tareq Dreiza, Head of IT Advisory at KPMG in Saudi Arabia said "As the Saudi market continues to develop at an accelerated rate and as the adoption of technology becomes more prevalent, Saudi consumers will begin to feel the same level of concern as to how their personal data is handled. In addition, we will begin to see regulatory requirements in the Kingdom, similar to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union. Institutions that act early will benefit from consumer trust and will be well positioned to respond to any regulatory requirements.
"They like new technology but are concerned about handing over personal data, and what that could mean for their privacy and security. Our research demonstrates that organisations should be aware of the heightened awareness people have about the value of their data; they want to feel that they are in control at every stage of the business relationship."
Although half of consumes are more anxious than last year about data, three-quarters are still willing to share their data with businesses. Millennial consumers are more likely (21%) than their baby boomer counterparts (5%) to trade their data for better customer experience and personalization. Likewise a fifth (19%) of millennial consumers would trade their data for better products and services, versus just 8% of baby boomers.
The KPMG report reveals consumers are more likely to trust firms with the data relevant to their operations. Globally, 71% of consumers will trust a banking provider with their financial data, but only 9% would trust retailers with this information. Likewise, 47% of consumers would trust a telecoms provider with their mobile data, but only 8% would trust advertisers.
Despite willing to provide businesses with data, the majority (72%) of consumers don't trust anyone with their social media data. Seven out of 10 consumers don't want share their search history or browsing data; 81% don't trust behaviourally tracked ads and only 41% wouldn't trust any type of business with their payments data.
"Many businesses have not yet fully grasped the concerns consumers have about sharing their data, or how this could affect consumer loyalty. Yet more and more businesses are looking to monetize the data they hold - whether that's what we put in our shopping basket, how many times a week we exercise, or what we choose to watch. Consumers are more aware of the value of their data, and businesses need to be responding to this new, tech-driven, data-savvy type of customer," Dreiza noted.