YouGov research carried out by Experian Marketing Services has revealed that while younger consumers are more inclined so share personal information with brands through social media platforms, the majority of customers feel more comfortable doing so via email.

ImageThe research was conducted to explore the attitudes of UK consumers towards sharing sensitive personal information, such as their date of birth and home address with brands, for marketing purposes. Of the 1,998 people interviewed by Experian, a convincing 82% were happy to share such information across at least one channel, while 18% said they would not share any information with brands, regardless of the channel.

A dominant 69% of those surveyed revealed email was their preferred method of communication when it comes to sharing information with brands. Facebook and Twitter commanded 8% and 4% respectively, while traditional post was the second most popular medium, preferred by 27% of participants. Phone and text made up the remaining 12%, commanding a 6% preference each.

There is a steep decline of information sharing depending on the category of age. By age group, nearly a quarter of 18 to 24-year-olds are likely to share information with brands who communicate with them on Facebook and Twitter, in contrast to only 13% of 35 to 44-year-olds, 4% of 45 to 54-year-olds and only 3% of those over the age of 55.

Almost 70% of people agreed with the statement that ‘companies generally use their data to target them with relevant products and offers’, with a further 47% agreeing that companies will generally share their data with third parties - whether they agreed to it or not. This suggests a significant mistrust of brands collecting personal information, with almost half of the participants sharing the opinion that brands were likely to share their data, regardless of approval.

John Buss is the Managing Director of Experian Marketing Services, and he said, “Being open, truthful and honest with them is essential to gain trust and build stronger relationships. Brands need to demonstrate to consumers that they take the matter very seriously and respect their rights.” Buss went on to say, “Above all, they must live this through targeted, relevant messages and timely messages delivered via the channels consumers prefer. Get this wrong and consumers will not hesitate to walk away from the brand. Get it right and they will become advocates.”