Most US consumers are ‘data pragmatists’ who, under the right circumstances, will trade personal information for incentives or benefits, a survey has found.

Millennials are even more likely than other groups to share their data.

This is not exactly news, with the findings of the Axiom/DMA survey producing similar results to others done in the past; however, following data-breaching revelations, such as Cambridge Analytica, it is instructive that more people than not are still willing to share their personal data in exchange for benefits.

The survey found that more than three-quarters of Americans were either “unconcerned” (18 per cent) or “pragmatists” (58 per cent) regarding the use of their personal data. Just 24 percent were “fundamentalists,” defined as those “unwilling to provide personal information even in return for service enhancement”.

The report’s authors defined “pragmatists” as those consumers who “will make trade-offs on a case-by-case basis as to whether the service or enhancement of service offered is worth the information requested”. For example, sharing their location in exchange for map directions.

Other examples include those people willing to provide their email address in exchange for a discount coupon or early access to retail sales information.

One new finding of the study was that respondents were more aware of their data being collected than previously, and they appeared to be open to “data sharing”.

Other findings:

62% believe sharing data and personal information online is part of the modern economy.

Around 40% believe sharing data is essential for the smooth running of society.

More than 50% are happy with the amount of personal data they provide to companies.

These figures are all higher for millennials.

Three-quarters of respondents said they believed data sharing benefited businesses more than it did consumers (11%). A vast majority (84%) said they would prefer greater control over the information captured and used by enterprises.

The pragmatists, those who decide on a case-by-case basis whether or not to share their data, rate trust as the most important factor in determining if they will give up their personal information. Transparency, clarity and control are major factors in earning that trust.

The survey did not address the matter of data-sharing with third parties, which previous studies have found consumers are far less willing to do.

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