August 18, 2005, 12:00 AM

Shoppers want personalized web content, but not personal data disclosure

80% of consumers said they are interested in receiving personalized content -- but 63% of them expressed concern that their personal data might not be secure with personalization, according to a survey commissioned by ChoiceStream.

Shoppers want a personalized experience online – but most of them are concerned that it may leave their personal data vulnerable. That’s one of the findings of the Second Annual Personalization Survey, conducted by Zoomerang for ChoiceStream Inc., a provider of online personalization technology.

80% of consumers in the survey said they are interested in receiving personalized content, but 63% of them expressed concern that their personal data might not be secure with personalization. And based on the growing fear of losing personal data through online identify theft, fewer consumers are willing to provide personal preference and demographic information in exchange for personalized content, the study found. 59% of those surveyed expressed a willingness to provide preference information, down 6% from the number who said they would in last year`s survey. 46% were willing to provide demographic information, down 11% from last year.

“Despite significant interest in personalization, there is growing concern among consumers about the security of their personal data, even with established, trusted brands,” says Steve Johnson, CEO of ChoiceStream. “To address the concerns, we as an industry must be absolutely vigilant in or efforts to safeguard consumers’ personal data.”

Despite expressed concerns about the security of their personal data online, consumers` interest in getting personalized content remains high, particularly among younger survey respondents. 83% of those surveyed who are 18-24 years of age expressed an interest in some type of personalized content, such as personalized recommendations on music or TV/movies. 73% of respondent in the 50+ category were interested in receiving personalized content, with personalized news, web search and book recommendations in the categories in which they expressed the most interest.

A surprisingly high 45% of consumers surveyed already buy at least some of their music online, with a higher number, 53%, saying they intend to buy music online over the next six months. But 34% said they would have bought even more music had they been able to find more that they liked. “Music retailers are leaving money on the table by not making it easier for consumers to find music they would likely enjoy,” concludes the report. Similarly, 37% of consumers said they would have bought more DVDs/videos if they had found more they liked.

“Existing TV-based movie and TV recommendations lack appeal as indicated by the high number of TiVo users -- 40% -- who never or almost never watch a show or movie that TiVo chooses to record for them,” according to the report.

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