New study uncovers conflicting attitudes about sharing data

Businesses urged to do more to explain the value exchange to customers

UK, 13 December 2017: British people have different levels of understanding about how their data is used by organisations in exchange for products and services. That’s according to new research from Experian, the global information services company, which set out to learn more about how consumers feel about the way data is utilised by businesses.

The study identified four distinct groups of people; ‘The Unaware’, ‘The Accepting’, ‘The Cautious’ and ‘The Incognito’ – revealing that there are varying levels of trust and engagement with the data exchange.

  • The Unaware (22% of the population): Unaware of the way in which some companies wish to use their data, these customers are often very excited to access the product or service they desire. They click ‘accept’ without really understanding the implications of what they are doing and have very low engagement with how their data might be used.
  • The Accepting (41% of the population): Accepting, but not thrilled with the amount of data they are asked to share to access products and services, this group of people simply see the exchange of information for products and services as an inevitable trade-off. They are aware of the situation, but not necessarily thrilled about it.
  • The Cautious (28% of the population): This group of consumers are much more careful about how they approach the data exchange. Before they share any information, they will want to make sure that the company asking for their data is legitimate and trustworthy, and ensure that they understand fully the agreement that they are entering in to.
  • The Incognito (9% of the population): This smaller, wary group of individuals has adapted to their environment by figuring out how to navigate data sharing without revealing any information that they don’t want to share. They have developed defence mechanisms to prevent them receiving the unwanted ‘hassle’ or intrusion that they perceive to be part of the process of sharing their data.

Experian’s Jon Roughley said: “Our research shows some significant splits in the way people feel about sharing data. Some are comfortable with the idea that the more they share the more they get, while others feel the more they share the more of themselves they give away, without valuing what they receive in return.

“Big changes to the regulatory landscape, including the Payments Services Directive 2 (PSD2), Open Banking, and EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), mean that businesses will need to gain a better understanding about their customers’ attitudes about sharing data in order to deliver the right results to those individuals.

“Overall, we’ve found that many people understand the value exchange that enables them to use the services that our digital, data-led economy has opened up - including keeping the internet free. However, what is clear from our research is that there are different levels of understanding about how data is collected and used by organisations. Specifically, how this is being used to power products and services.”

The research also uncovered that attitudes towards data sharing are impacted in different ways, by six essential data sharing factors. Understanding these factors is essential if businesses are going to build trust and take the opportunity to deliver better customer outcomes:

  1. Proximity to purpose: Is there an actual need to have, or give, the data?
  2. Obligation or accessory: When the sharing of the data is mandatory or an accepted norm, people will be more willing to share
  3. Day-to-day value: What are the benefits of sharing data?
  4. Significant life stage: How necessary is sharing data for that ‘next step’?
  5. Trust in company: Is the company trusted?
  6. Privacy of data: What kind of, and how private is the data that is being asked for?

“There is a real opportunity to build greater transparency and trust with customers by using their data in a clear and coherent way, underpinned by an obvious and well-communicated benefit to the individual,” adds Roughley.

“Data can drive innovation and make hugely positive changes to the way the world works, but if we don’t explain how the power of data is harnessed for good, more clearly and concisely, demonstrating a genuine value exchange, then there is chance that we will miss the chance.”



Notes to editors:

The research, commissioned by Experian and manged by C Space, gathered these insights from over 12,000 hours of customer involvement in online discussions and interviews, plus a comprehensive quantitative study with over 2,000 individuals.

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Media contacts:

Nick Jones, Head of Corporate & B2B PR, UK&I, Experian

Tel: 07976 734702 / Email:

Marlin PR for Experian

Tel: 020 7932 5598 /

About Experian

Experian® is the world’s leading global information services company. During life’s big moments – from buying a home or a car, to sending a child to college, to growing a business by connecting with new customers – we empower consumers and our clients to manage their data with confidence. We help individuals to take financial control and access financial services, businesses to make smarter decisions and thrive, lenders to lend more responsibly, and organisations to prevent identity fraud and crime.

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