Data Protection and Consumer Privacy Statistics 2021


Digital marketing means consumer data is everywhere. Hackings are occurring more frequently than ever, and in the end, customers are the ones who end up holding the bag.

Personal Identifiable Information (PII) is defined as: Any representation of information that permits the identity of an individual to whom the information applies to be reasonably inferred by either direct or indirect means. It is the responsibility of the individual user to protect data to which they have access.

To put this into perspective, each time you download an app, sign up for a blog, or even make a small e-commerce purchase, your PII data is stored. It is only recently that companies began cracking down on protecting consumer data.

Some 49% of the consumers in the United States admitted that they don’t know how to protect their personal data. But 64% said that companies aren’t doing much to help. This is concerning to say the least.

At Frasca Digital, we firmly believe data privacy is a pretty important topic. Statistics are important, but they are often antecedents that inspire change.

Thus, below is a short list of all the topics we’re going to cover in this post to provide a more well-rounded perspective of just how important consumer data protection is:

  1. Data Privacy Stats
  2. Privacy awareness in the US
  3. Data Protection Laws & Regulations
  4. Positive ROIs Associated with Privacy

Quick Note: Corporate Responsibility

Before we dive into the data, we do want to preface this article with the fact that companies are taking enormous steps to protect your data from hackers. This has been a core focus for marketers since 2018 when GDPR was being introduced and CCPA was following suit in the US. This regulation set a new standard and a call to action for data hosting companies around the world: protect consumer data.

Companies like Apple have been leading the way towards a more private and safer future for consumers. Before, your phone’s apps used to track usage data on your phone. Now, users must opt-in for this type of tracking.

If you want to read about all of their privacy implementations, you can read more about the 14.5 iOS privacy updates that made marketers pretty mad. This update means tracking ROI in marketing is more difficult, but at the cost of protecting consumers from identity theft. To me, this is a fair exchange.

Now, let’s get to the numbers.

Data Privacy Statistics

  1. 84% of respondents indicated that they care about privacy, care for their own data, care about the data of other members of society, and they want more control over how their data is being used. Of this group, 80% also said they are willing to act to protect it. Cisco Consumer Privacy Survey 2019
  2. Among privacy-active respondents, 48% indicated they already switched companies or providers because of their data policies or data sharing practices. Cisco Consumer Privacy Survey 2019
  3. 79% of respondents said they are very or somewhat concerned about how companies are using the data they collect about them, while 64% say they have the same level of concern about government data collection. Pew Research Center
  4. 81% of respondents feel as if they have little or no control over the data collected. Pew Research Center
  5. 46% of customers feel they’ve lost control over their own data. Salesforce research
  6. 45% of respondents indicated that they find the federal government responsible for protecting data privacy.
  7. 24% of respondents find the individual user responsible for protecting data privacy.
  8. 21% of respondents find that companies should be responsible for the protection of data privacy. 
  9. 43% of all respondents don’t believe they can adequately protect their personal data today.

Privacy Awareness in the US

More than 80% of Americans say they go online on a daily basis, according to the Pew Research Center. Of those, 28% go online almost constantly and 45% go online several times a day. Consumers are now more aware that businesses, social media sites and other websites may collect and share their personal information with third parties. They also hear more about security breaches, cyberattacks and unauthorized sharing of personal information.

  1. 63% of Americans say they understand very little or nothing at all about the laws and regulations that are currently in place to protect their data privacy. Pew Research Center
  2. 97% of Americans say they are ever asked to approve privacy policies, yet only about one-in-five adults overall say they always (9%) or often (13%) read a company’s privacy policy before agreeing to it. Some 38% of all adults maintain they sometimes read such policies, but 36% say they never read a company’s privacy policy before agreeing to it. Pew Research Center
  3. 62% of Americans (roughly six-in-ten) believe it is not possible to go through daily life without companies collecting their data. Pew Research Center
  4. 72% of Americans report feeling that all, almost all or most of what they do online or while using their cellphone is being tracked by advertisers, technology firms or other companies.  Another 19% think some of what they do is being tracked. Close to half (47%) of adults believe at least most of their online activities are being tracked by the government. American Trends Panel

Data Protection Laws & Regulations

In recent years, a number of events have converged to heighten consumer awareness of and concerns about privacy: implementation of the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA), Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and continuing security breaches of all types, as well as Americans’ increasing use of the Internet for many different types of activities. 

Although state legislatures have addressed privacy issues in various sectors for many years, 2019 saw more states introduce comprehensive privacy legislation (such as CCPA) than in previous years, in addition to other types of legislation aimed at protecting consumer privacy online. Despite an increased number of bills, however, comprehensive legislation did not pass in 2019.

  1. 107 countries (of which 66 were developing or transition economies) have put in place legislation to secure the protection of data and privacy. In this area, Asia and Africa show a similar level of adoption, with less than 40% of countries having a law in place. UN
  2. 18% of countries has no data protection law implemented. UN
  3. 59% of respondents said their organizations are currently meeting all GDPR requirements. 29% hope to be similarly ready by early 2020. Cisco Data Privacy benchmark study 2019
  4. 9% of organizations said it would take more than a year to get GDPR ready. Cisco Data Privacy benchmark study 2019
  5. 3% of the respondents in our global survey indicated that they did not believe GDPR applied to their organization. Cisco Data Privacy benchmark study 2019
  6. 47% of organizations updated website cookie policies, and 80% updated policy more than once over the past year. Techbeacon
  7. The most difficult GDPR obligation for companies in 2019 was the fulfilment of the right to be forgotten. IAPP

Positive ROIs for Privacy-Focused Companies

  • 97% of companies recognized they were realizing benefits such as competitive advantage or investor appeal from their privacy investments. Cisco Consumer Privacy Survey 2019
  • Most organizations are seeing very positive returns on their privacy investments, and more than 40% are seeing benefits at least twice that of their privacy spend. Cisco Data Privacy Benchmark Study 2020
  • 82% of organizations view privacy certifications such as ISO 27701 and Privacy Shield as a buying factor when selecting a product or vendor in their supply chain. Cisco Data Privacy Benchmark Study 2020
  • Across all companies in the survey, the average estimated benefit of privacy spend was $2.7 million. Large enterprises (10,000 or more employees) estimated their benefits at $4.1 million, and 17% placed the value at more than $10 million. Small businesses (250-499 employees) estimated their benefits at $1.8 millionCisco Data Privacy Benchmark Study 2020
  • Overall costs associated with breaches were lower; only 37% of GDPR-ready companies had a loss of over $500,000 last year vs. 64% of the least GDPR ready. Cisco Data Privacy benchmark study 2019
  • 64% of respondents believe that privacy options or features are “extremely important” or “very important” when considering their next smartphone, computer, and smart home device purchase. DuckDuckGo

Get Data Protection for Digital Marketing

With all of this information around protecting consumer data, it can be overwhelming. The simple solution? Treat customer data as if it were your own.

As digital and database marketers, we have an ethical and moral responsibility to protect consumers. After all, what customer wants to buy from a company they don’t trust?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or concerned about how to improve data protection for consumers, contact us today and we’ll provide some tips to get started!

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