Brands face an uphill battle to offer personalised services online, as new research reveals two thirds (67%) of UK consumers are concerned about how brands use their personal information, such as their name, email, location, and marital status.

The same proportion (66%) worry their personal data security could be compromised by the latest IoT gadgets, including smart-watches, fitness trackers, and home devices such as Amazon’s Echo.

As consumers demand a more personalised shopping experience online, these statistics are a worry for brands who rely on customer insight to tailor their services. Further to this, brands face a challenge in restoring confidence with shoppers with General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) enforcing an opt-in/opt-out policy for consumers.

The 2017 State of Consumer Privacy and Trust survey, a wide-ranging poll of over 4,000 adults in the UK and US from Gigya, the leader in customer identity management, found widespread alarm about how major brands approach data privacy. Concern about the security of personal IoT devices rises to almost three-quarters (73%) in the US.

In general, concern about data privacy rises, marginally, across generations, with a 13% delta between the 18-24 year olds (60%) and over-65s (73%), and most age groups in between also hovering around 70%. The pattern repeats, with similar scores (62% and 72%, respectively), when respondents were asked their opinions of data security on IoT devices.

The study also revealed that more UK respondents think brands’ privacy policies have become weaker (32%) in the face of escalating cyber security attacks, and tougher regulation, rather than stronger (26%).

Richard Lack, Managing Director of EMEA at Gigya, said: “Marketers have been quick to embrace the web, social media and smart devices to engage with consumers on a level that has completely transformed brand relationships. These relationships now rely on the unprecedented free-flow of increasingly sensitive customer data, in exchange for convenience, better recommendations, or access to that data across all of our devices.” He continued: “But marketers are about to experience a seismic shift in the way they collect and manage data. GDPR, which is just a little more than a year away, will keep brands honest by forcing an ‘opt-in’ policy on consumer data for the first time and radically changing the way that personally identifiable information is defined. This research pinpoints an urgent need for retailers and marketers to restore public confidence in the year ahead. They must put GDPR compliant systems in place to prevent a mass consumer ‘opt-out’ when the new regulations are enforced.”

The survey also found UK respondents doubt their data privacy will improve under Theresa May’s government; in fact, a higher percentage (18%) reckon it will be less secure, than think it will be more secure (17%). In the US, a third (32%) think the Donald Trump administration will make their data more secure, compared with a quarter (26%) who think it will be less secure.

Lack continued: “It is important brands don’t think they’re off the hook just because the public increasingly recognises its own role in keeping data private and secure. Yes, as consumers, we must be aware of the risks, and take precautions. But as technology evolves, and regulation tightens, brands must take the issues of data security firmly in hand, understanding the value of trusted relationships.”

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