April 23, 2013, 9:16 AM

Many younger online consumers are OK with sharing personal data

Those over 35 are more concerned about privacy, a survey finds.

Kevin Woodward

Senior Editor

Lead Photo

Many consumers 34 years old and younger have different perceptions about sharing personal data than older consumers.

Many younger consumers are prepared to trade online personal data for perks, finds a survey by research organizations USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future and Bovitz Inc.

“Online privacy is dead,” says Jeffrey I. Cole, director of the Annenberg center. “Millennials understand that, while older users have not adapted.” The study defines millenials as consumers 18 years old to 34 years old.

In the survey, younger consumers were more likely to share their online personal data if it benefited them. When asked if they would provide their location to companies in exchange for coupons or deals, 56% of the 18-34 year old group said yes, compared to 42% of those 35 and older.

More younger consumers—51%—would share their personal information with companies if they received something in return than would those 35 and older—40%.

“We are seeing a whole new set of values driving Millennials in their behavior online,” said Greg Bovitz, president of Bovitz Inc. “The fact that Millennials are willing to part with personal information creates new opportunities for businesses to develop marketing models that capitalize on the wants of this generation of Internet users.”

Younger consumers also are more active on social networks. Of those surveyed, 48% of 18-34 year olds say they visit a social network several times a day compared with 20% of consumers 35 or older.

The survey also found that 25% of younger consumers were OK trading some of their personal information in exchange for more relevant advertising, compared with 19% of those 35 and older.

The center surveyed 989 consumers in August.

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