Personalization Desire Outweighs Security Concerns

Although concerns over personal data security haven’t diminished in the past year, “The 2006 ChoiceStream Personalization Survey” finds over half of the respondents are inclined to provide demographic and other personal information in exchange for a personalized online experience.

Personalization and privacy go hand in hand. In the past year, consumer interest in a more personalized experience has increased by 24 percent to 57 percent of respondents to the recent survey. Consumers willing to let a site track clicks, purchases, and other behavior increased by 34 percent in the same period. Concerns over personal data security, however, remained largely unchanged. Sixty-two percent of respondents express concern, compared to 63 percent in the 2005 survey.

“Consumers are just overwhelmed with the number of choices they have: entertainment, e-commerce, search results, travel, news,” said ChoiceStream senior director of marketing and communications, Lori Loureiro. “The consumer can easily be overwhelmed by choices, and that’s not the intent of most brands.”

Social networking site usage may affect a consumer’s preference toward personalization, which is higher among younger age groups. Thirty percent of respondents claim membership at one or more social networks. Seventy-five percent of the group feels personalization would improve their social networking experience. When age is taken into consideration, personalization preferences skew younger. Sixty-nine percent of 18 to 24 year olds lean toward sharing personal data in exchange for services, compared to 8 percent of those 50 and over.

“Consumers are acquainted with getting personalized recommendations online,” said Loureiro. “They’re used to it, see the value in it, and in many cases have come to expect it.”

Personalization is a mainstay on the Internet channel, and many consumers expect the trend to spread to other media. Almost half (45 percent) of survey respondents want more personalization than the current on-screen TV program guide provides. Forty-seven percent would like to get personal recommendations on TV programming or an entire personalized guide, though age is a factor. Personalized guides would be welcome by 62 percent of 18 to 24 year olds and 37 percent of those 50 and over.

Another media where consumers want to see personalization is mobile. Just under 50 percent of survey respondents think personalization based on tastes and preferences would make them more likely to download ring tones, music, and other content.

“When you look at the mobile screen, you are fighting for every millimeter of space, and navigating on a mobile device is difficult,” said Loureiro. “If you can present relevant results for a consumer, they are more likely to buy into using a mobile device for activities over and above talking on the phone.”

MarketTools conducted the online survey with 1,100 respondents for ChoiceStream. The survey includes some questions first asked in 2004 and 2005 surveys, as well as questions new in 2006.

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