September 23, 2023



Over a third of people in the UK read data policies before purchases

3 min read

Companies not spending enough time writing accurate data privacy policies should re-think their strategy, as More British consumers read the small prints than expected.

Software Advice UK, an advisory providing personalised software recommendations in the United Kingdom, revisited several studies conducted in 2022 to observe key patterns in how consumers in the UK feel about their data and its privacy. An analysis of data collected throughout the year uncovered several clear trends revealing that whilst consumers are willing to share personal information online, they remain cautious and somewhat distrustful of companies.

Approximately two-thirds of consumers claim to research a company’s data privacy policy reputation before making online purchases, most commonly through reading customer reviews.

However, transparency and a clearly defined consumer privacy policy also matter, with 39% of respondents claiming to actually read a company’s policy before making a purchase. Therefore, a well-formulated and transparent data governance plan is crucial for showing customers that a business takes data protection seriously.

According to the survey, consumers are willing to share highly personal data with companies and government bodies as long as they are informed and assured about its use. 68% of respondents would only share their data ‘under certain conditions’. When asked for their top three conditions for sharing personal information, the most commonly chosen condition was that there should be a statement explaining the data’s use.

When it comes to saving credit card data, consumer fears persist, with data protection and security remaining a primary concern for about a fifth of those who signed up for non-traditional subscriptions.

“The data trends seen in 2022 highlighted several important lessons for companies regarding consumer privacy online. Whilst we observed trends showing that UK consumers are happy to share data for justifiable reasons (such as access to a service), that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Consumers are very sensitive to the type of data that is required from them and will object if they feel they are being asked to share unnecessary information without a good reason. Trust is vital, and losing it for a perceived lack of data privacy best-practice could prove costly for sales.”, says David Jani, content analyst for the report.

Data remains a controversial topic in the UK.

Recently the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) wrote a letter to Tesco CEO Ken Murphy, saying it “will be obliged to take action if Tesco extends to any European Economic Area country the practice of making access to stores conditional on subscription to its loyalty scheme”.

The complaint relates to Tesco’s GetGo checkout-free store in London, which uses tech to acknowledge what customers take off shelves and put into baskets, before charging them for the items.

In order to make payments at the store, customers must have a Tesco app and a Clubcard account, giving the supermarket chain access to vast quantities of data on customers’ purchasing choices.

Other supermarkets offering similar checkout-free services in London, such as Sainsbury’s, do not require their customers to enrol for a loyalty card in order to access the store.

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