January 26, 2017 Last Updated 9:57 am

GfK study: Canadians more reluctant to share personal data

It feels like it is Canada Day here at TNM. Don’t miss the post on the new report from Public Policy Forum on the state of the news industry in Canada, currently featured on the home page. And now, here is a report from GfK on how Canadian’s feel about sharing personal data (hint, they are not thrilled about it).

There have been, in the past, similar reports on the US market, but what I have seen is that many US consumers are not that concerned, or if they are, their actions are not consistent with that concern.

For many businesses, personal data security is like the insurance industry: if the cost of hacks is high enough they are willing to invest in new technology, if it is not, then they consider hacks just part of the price of doing business. For consumers, I would think that one’s attitude towards the issue is directly tied to one’s personal experience with the loss of data themselves. Replacing a credit card is a hassle, fighting with a retailer worse.

Canadians, it appears, are a little wiser than the rest of us when it comes to their attitudes towards personal data sharing:


TORONTO, Ontario – January 26, 2017 — GfK asked people online to indicate how strongly they agree or disagree with the statement, “I am willing to share my personal data (health, financial, driving records, energy use, etc.) in exchange for benefits or rewards like lower costs or personalized service” – using a scale where “1” means “don’t agree at all” and “7” means “agree completely.”

Just 14% of Canadians strongly agreed (“1” or “2” on the 7-point scale) with the statement, compared to a global average of 27 percent. In addition, almost one-third (31%) of Canadians firmly disagreed with the idea of data sharing – much higher than the global average of 19%.

Canadian men and women were almost equally likely to agree with the idea of providing personal information – 13% for women and 15% for men; globally, the figures for both genders were identical, at 27%. Levels of disagreement among men and women were also very similar in Canada and globally.

Canadians in the 20- to 29-year-old age group were most likely to express willingness to share data, with a 24% agreement rate. Globally, the 20-to-29 and 30-to-39 age groups were almost equal in willingness, at 33% and 34% respectively.

People in China are most ready to share their personal data in exchange for benefits, with 38 percent of the online population saying they are firmly willing to do so and only eight percent firmly unwilling. Other countries with higher than average levels of willingness are Mexico (30 percent), Russia (29 percent) and Italy (28 percent).

US consumers were much closer to the global averages in both agreeing (25%) and disagreeing (23%) with information sharing in exchange for benefits.

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