While most consumers say that technology has improved their lives over the past five years, concerns about its expanding presence are growing, according to a new study released by Ketchum. The most tech-savvy consumers, dubbed “techruptors,” are leading the charge when it comes to voicing those concerns.
Ketchum’s Social Permission and Technology Study finds that the conflicting views people have of technology are often a question of convenience vs. privacy. For example, 84 percent of those surveyed said that technology makes shopping more convenient, with close to half (48 percent) saying that they do all their shopping online. But only 8 percent trust retailers with their personal data, and 37 percent of respondents don’t trust any organization with their data.
The same split can be seen in how technology affects relationships with family members, especially for families with children. Although 55 percent of respondents say technology has made time spent with their children better, 85 percent are concerned about their child’s safety and 76 percent have concerns over the effect that new developments in technology could have on the privacy, as well as the safety, of their kids.
But consumers have contradictory opinions about protecting data privacy. Although 85 percent of respondents say there should be more legislation around data privacy, they voice little faith in the ability of government to deal with the problem. Only 18 percent say they trust state government to protect their digital privacy, with that number inching up to 20 percent for the federal government.
The source of action to address those conflicts, the study says, comes from the “techruptors”—young digital natives who have fully integrated technology into their day-to-day lives. More than 9 out of 10 of them (91 percent) are in favor of further legislation around data privacy, with 92 percent saying they at least partly agree that the U.S. needs a system along the lines of the General Data Protection Regulation that monitors data privacy within the European Union and the European Economic Area.
“Consumers are trying to navigate a fine line between the positive impact technology has on their daily lives and a rising unease that it has become too pervasive or that they’re losing control,” said Ketchum partner and director of technology Lisa Sullivan. “Brands need to see the signs that they may be approaching a permission tipping point with their consumers and think strategically about what step they can take to create and maintain social permission in the marketplace.”