Not for sale: More than half of Americans would not sell their personal data at any price, according to SYZYGY

New York, New York, UNITED STATES

NEW YORK, May 24, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As news about data privacy violations continues to grab headlines and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulation takes effect in Europe on Friday, May 25, new research from digital agency group SYZYGY (WPP) of online users in the U.S., U.K., and Germany reveals that businesses in the U.S. could pay a high price for the widespread public opinion that they are misusing citizens’ personal data.

In this heated environment, many consumers feel that the value of their data is priceless. More than half (55%) of U.S. adults would not sell their personal data at any price, even to their favorite brand, rising to 66% of those 55 and over. For those who would consider selling their personal data to their favorite brand, they would do so for an average one-off payment of $150. Just 9% would share their data with their favorite brand for no charge.

Almost half of Americans (47%) have stopped using an online service or retailer in the past year because they don’t trust them with their data and over half (54%) believe that the brands and services they use already know too much about them. The trust levels of Americans are lower than those found in the U.K., where about of third (36%) of Brits have ceased doing business with a retailer. Germans report the highest level of concern of the three countries surveyed. A full 75% say they don’t trust retailers.

Young people, however, seem to be more willing to share, with 55% of 18-24s willing to sell their personal data to their favorite brand and 12% willing to share for no charge. However, the majority in this age group (51%) feel that the brands and retailers they use already know too much about them.

The report points to a clear gap between the perceived benefits of personalization and the efforts of companies to tailor better experiences to their customers. Only one in four (27%) believe that surrendering their personal data is a price worth paying for to get a more personalized experience online. What’s more, only two in ten Americans (21%) report being happy when they are aware of businesses using technology to personalize messages and content to them. Overall, less than one in five (18%) feel it is worth giving up online anonymity in return for receiving more personalized experiences.

Paul Marsden, Consumer Psychologist at SYZYGY, said: "The research fundamentally highlights the stark lack of trust among consumers in how their data is currently being used. Yet for every business problem, there’s a business opportunity. Businesses now have the opportunity to repair the data-driven trust deficit. For example, they can put people in control of their own data, enabling them to view, limit, erase and update the data held about them."

Megan Harris, Managing Director of SYZYGY North America, said: “There’s no doubt that users can and do trade their data for better online experiences, regardless of how they feel about doing so. Yet, brands and their agencies can’t take their customers for granted. This survey is a hard reminder of our collective mandate to be transparent and ethical in how we use data. If we fail our customers and further break their trust, we’ll soon be faced with our own GDPR in the U.S.”

The SYZYGY (WPP) study “The Price of Personal Data” was conducted between May 15 and 18, 2018 with 1000 U.S. adults aged 18-65 using Google Surveys.

For more information, download the summary of “The Price of Personal Data” or contact SYZYGY to request the dataset.


SYZYGY AG is an international digital communications agency traded on the Frankfurt stock exchange since 2000 and partially owned by the WPP Group. We put human happiness at the heart of everything we do and use digital technology to help brands become agents of positive change. Headquartered in Germany with offices in New York, London and Warsaw, our team of 700 professionals work with leading brands around the world, including Avis Budget Group, AMEX, BMW, L’Oréal, Mazda, and Samsung. Learn more at


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