For all our online conveniences, from instant global communication to banking in our pajamas, we rely on a degree of trust that our transactions and information are safe. This trust is largely implicit. We often depend on mechanisms we can’t see to protect us. There’s no deadbolt to lock. We place our trust in the large companies we interact with to protect us. Until they don’t.
Given the spate of consumer data breaches, Escalent surveyed 1,069 US consumers to understand how people feel about the state of online privacy and, based on their perceptions, whether they have changed their online behavior. How long is their memory of headline-making security breaches? What did they do as a result? What demographics are the least trusting, and what businesses are most affected?
Two-thirds said large companies have too much control over their personal data, while 75% said those companies aren’t doing enough to protect their data and privacy. When a company is seen as not doing enough, consumers start taking their own security precautions. Due to data security concerns, nearly half of US consumers have changed the way they use online platforms or apps. For example, they may add authentication, change devices, cease to shop or bank online, or remove themselves from platforms entirely.
Millennials drive Security-related changes in social media behavior. Social media, email, shopping, and financial transactions are most affected.
We remember what strikes us emotionally: 82% of US consumers remember major data breaches or online data security issues they’ve seen in the news in recent years. The most remembered of those are Equifax, Facebook, and Yahoo. Thus, it’s not surprising that activities involving social media, email, ecommerce, and online financial platforms like banking/investing are also the industries where there are consumer trust issues.
What this means is that if you’re in the social media space, you’re automatically connected in people’s minds when your competitor has a breach. You can’t sit back and enjoy the schadenfreude of seeing a competitor struggle; you might have some damage control to do as well.
The bright side? Along with damage control comes an opportunity to gain back the trust lost to your industry. Act swiftly and—this is important—with heart. Well over half of consumers feel that large companies address privacy and security concerns primarily to protect their own reputations rather than to protect the people their businesses serve. Making people feel protected can strengthen the brand relationship. Trust issues faced by your industry could be turned into a trust-building opportunity for your brand.
Want to learn more about what your customers think of you? Send us a note. There’s a good chance we’ve already started thinking about you.