August 29, 2003, 12:00 AM

Consumers will give personal info to get something in return, study finds

The prospect of getting usable product recommendations in return makes consumers up to 25% more likely than usual to provide personal information to a marketer, says a new survey from R.R. Donnelley and Sons Co.

The prospect of getting usable product recommendations in return makes consumers up to 25% more likely than usual to provide personal information to a marketer, says a new survey from R.R. Donnelley and Sons Co. "Consumers are extremely sensitive about their privacy--particularly in the financial services sector," says Richard Hren, director of consumer data analytics for RR Donnelley. "However, consumers also recognize that a better and more relevant customer experience is available to them through some form of data sharing. The presentation of more personalized products and services that result from this insight seems to be a fair trade-off to many people."

70% of the 10,000 consumers in Donnelley FinSight consumer panel said they think "companies have too much personal information." An even higher percentage resent how companies use the data, with 76.4% believing "their privacy has been compromised if a company uses their personal information to sell them products."

Even though consumers are more willing to give personal data to get product recommendations, only 50% of the panel say they "appreciate it when companies recommend new products and services based about what they know about me."

Other findings include:
Consumers early in their financial life, ages 18-24, were far less likely to be concerned about privacy (65.2%); while consumers over 65, were far more likely to be concerned (84.4%).
Women (71.1%) are slightly more concerned about privacy than men (68.8%).
Caucasians (70.2%) appear more concerned about privacy than any other ethnic group including African-Americans (66.3%), Hispanics (68.7%) and Asians (69.1%).

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