Martin Oxley
Martin Oxley 17 November 2021
Categories Data & Analytics

Consumer Confidence in Data Privacy Falls; Trusted Brands Benefit

Scam phone calls and emails targeting individuals have increased since the outbreak of Covid-19, costing Brits £750 million since the beginning of 2020. To understand if and how consumers’ feelings around data privacy are changing, and what it means for brands, leading innovation and insights agency buzzback partnered with global insights organisation ESOMAR and HERE Technologies, for a new wave of their global study into data privacy. They interviewed 5,000 respondents from the UK as well as US, Brazil, Germany, and China.

The study has shown that more people are now considering who they share their data with, with 60% now concerned about who holds their personal information digitally. 

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, criminals have been taking advantage of people spending more time at home, targeting individuals with scam phone calls and emails. Banking trade body, UK Finance, says more than £750m was stolen from UK consumers in the first six months of 2021.

With this in mind, leading innovation and insights agency buzzback, along with global insights organisation ESOMAR and HERE Technologies, followed up on their 2019 global study into data privacy by interviewing 5,000 respondents from the UK, US, Brazil, Germany, and China to find out if and how consumer feelings around the topic are changing and help brands address some urgent issues.

Worryingly, the research indicated that 40% of Brits had experienced phishing or scams, such as being sent fraudulent emails requesting personal information including bank account details – compared to just 25% in 2019. 

The new study shows that the level of concern about sharing personal information digitally has risen; from 55% two years ago to 60% now. People now think harder about who to share their data with. In 2019, 54% didn’t consider who they were giving their information to, in 2021 that figure is 48%.

With confidence in privacy reducing, the positive impact of brand trust is increasing. Willingness to buy from trusted brands is on the rise. 87% said they are more willing to buy from companies that handled personal data as they should.

Big brands such as Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft are at the top for consumer trust, while the research shows that social media giants are still not building trust. In spite of this, people will still continue to use services such as social media even if they don’t fully trust them.

People are now less aware of what happens to their personal data - particularly in the UK, where we see a 15% drop in certainty of what happens with personal information (from 40% in 2019 to 25 % this year).

This lack of trust or understanding leads to people not wanting to divulge their information, even when there is a potential reward. Only 30% are now willing to trade losing their privacy for possible benefits, down from 35%. 

Although the level of scepticism is higher, people are however willing to put their concern aside for the greater good.

For example, to help stop the spread of the pandemic, 51% of respondents would still permit the recording of their health data to improve the general well-being or saving lives. And 30% would be happy to share their location or personal data if there’s value in doing this. 

Martin Oxley, Managing Director at buzzback, said “This is a really challenging time for brands as consumer anxiety around data privacy has rocketed. Brands can’t buy trust, but they should prioritise it. It’s critical that organisations implement the highest levels of security to protect people’s data. This won’t only protect consumers it will also boost brands’ revenues.”


Buzzback conducted a privacy study with ESOMAR and HERE Technologies, involving 10,000 respondents across Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, the UK, the US, India and China in 2019 and followed this up with another study in 2021 with 5,000 respondents from Brazil, Germany, the UK, the US and China

About buzzback

For over 20 years, innovation and research agency buzzback has helped hundreds of brands worldwide better connect with consumers, break through marketing challenges, and grasp new opportunities. Major consumer, pharmaceutical and financial services companies have innovated using buzzback’s intuitive image-driven & language-rich approach. 

Headquartered in NYC, with offices in the UK, buzzback has won numerous industry and technology awards, including being listed as one of Crain’s 100 Best Places to Work in NYC three years in a row. Buzzback is a woman-owned diversity supplier.


ESOMAR is the global voice of the data, research and insights community with more than 6,000 individual members and 600+ corporate members in 130 countries, representing a network of over 45,000 professionals. Since its establishment 70+ years ago, ESOMAR has been providing ethical and professional guidance and advocating on behalf of its global membership community.

About HERE Technologies

HERE, the Open Location Platform company, enables people, enterprises and cities to harness the power of location. By making sense of the world through the lens of location we empower our customers to achieve better outcomes-from helping a city manage its infrastructure or an enterprise optimize its assets to guiding drivers to their destination safely.

To learn more about HERE, including our new generation of cloud-based location platform services, visit and

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