A survey conducted by Toluna, a leading online research and survey technology provider, in conjunction with the leading digital marketing intelligence company, Evidon, reveals there has been considerable positive uplift in attitudes towards brands that are open and honest in the disclosure of their data collection activities.

The study shows that over four in five UK and US consumers (84% and 86% respectively) have a more favourable opinion of companies that are honest and open in the disclosure of their data collection activities. This compares to research conducted in 2012 that demonstrated just over half of UK and US consumers (54% and 57% respectively) felt more favourably towards privacy-focused businesses, a considerable rise in positive consumer opinion since that time.

Furthermore, around three-quarters of UK and US consumers (75% and 78% respectively) claim they are more likely to purchase goods from a business that is honest about how it collects and/or uses information about them online. This underlines another notable increase from 2012 when around half (49% of UK consumers and 51% of US consumers) said they would purchase more from businesses that are honest about their data collection and use.

“The research findings show an interesting change in consumer opinion since 2012 and we did not anticipate such a marked shift in attitudes towards privacy”, commented Mark Hallums, Director of Product Technology, EMEA, Toluna. “Major news stories such as NSA and PRISM could be one of the contributing factors to the change in attitudes around data collection. While many consumers are still dissatisfied with the degree of transparency in data collection methods since 2012, there has been a notable rise in appreciation towards brands that manage data practices well and communicate relevant activity to consumers. Not only are these brands more trusted, they are also generating revenue from being open about data collection.”

The survey also shows that consumers feel more comfortable about the use of data collected online if they have given their permission and feel it is being used in a relevant way. Just over three-quarters (77%) of UK consumers agree that if a company asked permission, they would have a more favourable opinion of that company, and seven in 10 (72%) of US consumers claim to feel the same. This compares to 48% of UK consumers and 46% of US consumers in 2012.

“We are delighted to see such a positive shift in opinion towards brands that are open and honest about their data collection practices”, said Todd Ruback, Chief Privacy Officer at Evidon. “Brands that are transparent with consumers about the way their data is collected and used are rewarded with greater levels of trust, and benefit from improved commercial opportunities.”