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Press Release

The Privacy Paradox: How Personal Information Has Become the Most Guarded, and Shared Currency

Canada NewsWire

TORONTO, Sept. 18, 2012 /CNW/ - LoyaltyOne released today research findings that show when it comes to privacy, Canadian consumers are still protecting some of their data, yet willingly sharing some very personal information.

Of the 1,000 Canadian consumers responding to an online survey, four in 10 said they'd be willing to give a trusted company their religious affiliation and sexual orientation (41 and 40 per cent respectively). Health information and political affiliation is also being shared with businesses (31 and 30 per cent respectively), but we're much more guarded about our location information. Just 22 per cent of respondents said they would provide browsing information and a mere 16 per cent would give up location via smart phone.

So sensitive is location information that the willingness to give it up is on par with willingness to divulge number of sexual partners (12 per cent).

"When it comes to the use of data, brands need to act like a great hotel concierge: able to provide suggestions that hit the mark every time without being overbearing or creepy," said Bryan Pearson, President of LoyaltyOne and author of The Loyalty Leap: Turning Customer Information Into Customer Intimacy.  "There's a fine line between demonstrating you understand a customer and making them uncomfortable with the level of information you have about them."

Open for Business: Why Consumers are Unlocking the Gate to their Personal Information
Canadians are considerably less likely than Americans to believe that companies exchange their personal information without permission, (72 per cent versus 84 per cent), but the value exchange has yet to be fully realized. Only about half (55 per cent) of Canadians feel companies send them relevant information, products and services based on what these companies know about them. And nearly two-thirds (68 per cent) would be willing to give more personal information if companies sent them relevant offers based on what they have shared. Canadian men, more so than women, believe their personal information is an asset for marketers (79 vs. 69 per cent).

"Marketers' efforts to create relevant customer experiences through data may not be resonating to the degrees that they hope," said Pearson. "Consumers are disappointed. For years they've provided their valuable information and they're not realizing something of suitable worth in return. If businesses don't act quickly to demonstrate they have the consumer's best interest at heart, they risk a continued erosion of the business-to-consumer relationship."

Privacy under the Microscope: The US/Canada Perspective

  • Almost a third of respondents in the US and Canada (30 per cent) have been notified that their personal information has been stolen or compromised.
  • Almost half (48 per cent) always or often read the privacy policies, contracts and agreements from companies they do business with.
  • Six in ten (59 per cent) said unacceptable for a retailer to send offers and information to the person's smartphone whenever they are near the retailer's location after permission is given to track their GPS location.
  • Despite the unwillingness to share location information, more than 25 per cent of survey takers would give up their whereabouts for a chance to win an iPad or weekend getaway; cash would entice more than half.
  • Seven in ten (71 per cent) said it's not acceptable to send baby food offers to someone who had merely purchased a pregnancy test.

About the Report
The results are summarized in the report, Customer Data - Privacy, Profit and the New Paradigm commissioned by LoyaltyOne, a global provider of coalition loyalty, customer analytics and loyalty services, completed online surveys in July 2012 with 1,000 U.S. and 1,000 Canadian consumers. The research is designed to test consumer attitudes about personal data collection and use by marketers. Statistical significance is calculated at the 95% confidence level. The report is available at Pearson will lead a free webinar based on the report on October 10 at 1 p.m. Eastern. To register

About LoyaltyOne
LoyaltyOne is a global leader in the design and implementation of coalition loyalty programs, customer analytics and loyalty services for Fortune 1000 clients around the world. LoyaltyOne's unparalleled track record delivering sustained business performance improvement for clients stems from its unique combination of hands-on practitioner experience and continuous thought leadership. LoyaltyOne has over 20 years history leveraging data-driven insights to develop and operate some of the world's most effective loyalty programs and customer-centric solutions. These include the AIR MILES Reward Program, North America's premier coalition loyalty program and a working partnership with Latin America's leading coalition program, dotz. LoyaltyOne is also the equity partner of Direxions, a loyalty pioneer headquartered in India and the owner of COLLOQUY, a group dedicated to research, publishing and education for the global loyalty industry.   LoyaltyOne is an Alliance Data company. For more information, visit

SOURCE: LoyaltyOne

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