Internet users in Great Britain are concerned about how organisations use their personal data, and according to recent research, these concerns are continuously escalating.

A study conducted in Great Britain in December 2013 by Ipsos MORI for TRUSTe states that 60% of Internet users were more worried about their online privacy at the end of 2013 than in 2012. Due to these privacy concerns, 91% of consumers are less likely to click on online ads, 78% avoid using apps they don’t trust and 64% don’t enable location tracking. This could have a negative effect on any business as these consumer concerns increase through 2014.

Privacy concerns have in fact increased across all online activities. The activities that now have the highest concern rate across GB’s Internet users include shopping online (88%), banking online (86%), using social networks (86%) and using mobile apps (80%). Unsurprisingly, the top reasons for the increase in digital privacy concerns were “businesses sharing my personal information with other companies” (60%) and “companies tracking my online behavior to target me with ads and content” (54%).

Data privacy

% of respondents, 2,011 adults aged 16-75, 13 – 18 December 2013, Source: TRUSTe, “2014 GB Consumer Confidence Privacy Report” conducted by Ipsos MORI

The increasing consumer trust in data privacy and safety online is an important indicator that should be taken into consideration for any organisation, as this could affect business in the long term. A high percentage (89%) of British internet users avoid companies that do not protect their privacy. So what can you do as a business to make your customers feel at ease? Well, if you want your customers to have any trust in you, never share their information with a third party without their permission, and when capturing consumer data, offer a choice of how much information they want to share.

Even clearly communicating these two basic privacy controls to your customers will give them increased confidence and view your brand in a more positive light. In short, if you don’t respect your customer’s personal data, you’ll lose business!