Nearly half of US consumers feel they have little to no control of their personal data, according to Deloitte’s “US Consumer Data Privacy” study. Marketers are having to perform a balancing act between personalizing offers and experiences based on consumers’ past buying behaviors and preferences while not creeping them out. From 2016 to 2018, the volume of breached records in the US rose twelve-fold, and as a result, about half of all US states are developing data privacy legislation—including the forthcoming California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), set to be effective January 1, 2020. Now more than ever, it’s important that marketers focus strategies on building consumer trust. 

Collecting data from consumers has served the industry three purposes: to learn more about consumers’ habits, communicate in personal ways and deepen relationships with frequent buyers. Retail executives in Deloitte’s survey state that the top uses of consumer data are efficiencies in operations (53 percent), improving product selection (52 percent) and enhancing in-store services and experiences (49 percent).

Despite how beneficial these efforts are for consumers, consumers still have their doubts as 47 percent admit they have little to no control of their personal data and one in three has been exposed to a data breach. Eighty-six percent believe they should be able to opt-out of the sale of their data. 

The good news: 71 percent of consumers are willing to share personal data if they receive special discounts or better pricing. What’s more, 73 percent of consumers said they’re more likely to be open or neutral about sharing personal data when satisfied with privacy policies, compared to 57 percent who are unsatisfied or unaware.

Consumers don’t have a clear sense of what information marketers collect and how they use it. More than two-thirds of consumers think they use the data for target marketing. Fifty-five percent of consumers believe advertisers sell data to outside buyers or share it with third parties. 

Retailers still face challenges internally over data storage. Nearly two-thirds of respondents say their organization has more than 50 information systems that store consumer data. Half of them indicate that inadequate data management is hindering their ability to implement consumer privacy programs. Lack of funding was the top reason cited.

For understanding consumers’ view of personal data and privacy, Deloitte surveyed US 2,000 individuals, conducted online using an independent research panel from April-May 2019. 

For understanding the executives’ view on the matter, Deloitte surveyed 201 retail industry C-level executives, senior management and senior directors in various retail organizations from US-based companies between April and May 2019.