Report: Gen Z, Millennials more willing to give up personal data in exchange for personalized experiences

A Salesforce report on consumer trust trends reinforces what we already knew: transparency can go a long way to allay the fears of consumers torn between the allure of personalization and its risks.

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Mobile Shopping Store Visit2 Ss 1920 Iwlb9eAlthough a slim majority of consumers are wary of companies’ intentions when it comes to handing over personal data, Gen Z and millennials are more game to take that risk — as long as they are getting something in return, according to a recent report on customer trust trends from Salesforce.

The report was generated from a double-blind global survey of 6,723 consumers this spring and defines Baby Boomers/Traditionalists as born before 1965; Gen X as born 1965–1980 and Millennials/Gen Zers as born 1981–1999.

Consumers are wary

The report confirms what we already knew. Consumers are at a crossroads. Though a slight majority (54 percent) say they don’t believe companies have their best interests at heart, they are still willing to give up personal information if they see a benefit. This privacy paradox has been talked about for a while now, as consumers get used to balancing their desire for personalized experiences with the very reasonable fear that their data would be mishandled, a fear stoked by recent social media scandals and giant data breaches.

Though all generations say that personalization techniques such as connected processes and instant on-demand engagement are important to winning their businesses, the statistics show an increased willingness along generational lines. For example, 75 percent of Gen Z/Millennials say they want to work with businesses that have instant on-demand engagement as opposed to only 53 percent of Baby Boomers/Traditionalists.

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Likewise, there is a generational divide in how transparent consumers think businesses are. Sixty-three percent of Millennials and Gen Z say they understand how companies are using their data compared to 47 percent of Boomers/Traditionalists. And only 35 percent of Boomers/Traditionalists expect offers to always be personalized, compared to 67 percent of Millennials and Gen Z.

AI causes fear, excitement, opportunities

There is real fear from consumers around the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in personalization. Sixty percent of all consumers surveyed say they are concerned about their information being compromised because of AI. But 75 percent of Gen Z and Millennials say they can see the good that comes from it (as opposed to 56 percent of Baby Boomers/Traditionalists). And with only about 35 percent of consumers saying they don’t trust AI, businesses have a real opportunity to connect with their consumers by providing experiences that are valuable to them.

And perhaps unsurprisingly, the study found that building trust with your customers can pay off. Nearly all (95 percent) of those surveyed said that they are more likely to be loyal to a company they trust, and 93 percent said they’d be likely to recommend that company. To build trust, businesses should be as transparent as possible. Ninety-two percent say they are more likely to trust companies with their personal information if they are given control over that information.

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About the author

Robin Kurzer
Robin Kurzer started her career as a daily newspaper reporter in Milford, Connecticut. She then made her mark on the advertising and marketing world in Chicago at agencies such as Tribal DDB and Razorfish, creating award-winning work for many major brands. For the past seven years, she’s worked as a freelance writer and communications professional across a variety of business sectors.

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