We surveyed a representative sample of 2000 UK consumers, to understand their current online privacy behaviours and how they have changed in recent years.
- The majority of internet users (70%) are now blocking cookies or otherwise masking their personal information on a weekly basis. For example, browsing in private or incognito mode, using Safari as their main browser or regularly clearing their cookie cache.
- People who use private browsing are also spending a significant amount of time doing so – on average nearly half (48%) of their time online. And the problem is growing – almost a third (29%) say they spend more time browsing privately compared to a year ago.
- When asked why they have become more conscious about online privacy in recent years, ad tracking was cited as the number one reason. Two fifths (42%) said this had made them more privacy conscious in the past three years, more than data breaches (31%) or being targeted by online scammers (31%).
- A greater awareness of online privacy is also causing people to question the assumed value exchange the entire advertising ecosystem is built upon – that free content is provided in return for sharing personal data. When asked if their personal data was a fair exchange for a free service, just as many respondents agreed as disagreed (30%). However, the vast majority believe change is needed, with 63% saying advertisers should find a better way to make ads relevant that does not rely on collecting personal information.
- The report also highlights that there is a major opportunity for advertisers who are mindful of this sentiment. More than half (52%) of people say they would be more likely to choose a brand if it could prove it never collected or used any personal information for advertising.