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September 27, 2016updated 30 Sep 2016 12:01pm

Data generation consumers start to see value in personal information gathered by businesses

Data becomes a bargaining chip but few trust companies to look after it.

By James Nunns

Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the value of their data but many have no idea what companies are doing with it.

The majority (69%) of 16-34 year olds now view their own personal information as “bargaining chips” that can be used to enhance their lives and expect a hyper-personalised service from brands.

That’s according to a study by SAS which labels the group as the “Data Generation” which expects to see personalised insights into their habits, preferences, and moods taken into account so that predictive analytics can enhance their health, prosperity, and future life potential.

It was found that only 12% are happy to share their personal information without a second though, but when asked to consider sharing in specific situations this changed to 57% willing to share their own data to make their lives easier.

SAS found that 67% are comfortable sharing with the healthcare sector, 57% with financial institutions, 50% with the public sector, 45% with utilities, 32% with retailers, and 28% with social media companies.

However, while many of the “Data Generation” are aware of the value of their data, the Chartered Institute of Marketing found that 57% do not trust companies to handle their data responsibly.

The CIM survey of 2,500 people also found that 51% complained that they had been contacted by organisations that had misused their data.

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Not only do many not trust how their information is being used but many (92%) also do not fully understand how it is being used.

The issue of data use and its security has become increasingly important to consumers in the wake of massive breaches that have seen personal information leaked.

Events such as the world’s biggest breach and data stealing at Yahoo! Have highlighted the issue of personal information being held by companies and the “Data Generation” highlighted in the SAS study has to some extent grown up with data breaches.

A Deloitte study on 'Building Consumer Trust' from 2014.

A Deloitte study on ‘Building Consumer Trust’ from 2014.

Yahoo is not the first and it won’t be the last, so they have become un-trusting of companies but they also understand that in some cases it is valuable for them to share their data.

Mark Wilkinson, SAS Regional Vice President – Northern Europe, said: “The Data Generation are amenable to sharing more forms of data, provided it gives them control as they navigate turbulent macro-economic conditions and fluid career projections. The organisations that will prosper in the future, will demonstrate how they can enhance the Data Generation’s life potential and that of society.”

In order for companies to properly serve this group they will need to embrace analytics, cloud, and open source software, said Wilkinson.

While businesses will need to embrace these technologies, it is also clear that they have a long way to go to win consumer trust and breaches like the Yahoo one won’t help.

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