Data breaches create more mistrust reveals dentsu’s Data Consciousness Project

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  • Australians feeling towards data use by companies has drastically shifted in five years 
  • 73% of Australians are now fearful of data breaches within a company or brand 
  • 1 in 10 Australians will switch brands because of a data breach 
  • Cybercrime is heightening concerns amongst Australians around how data is collected and used by companies 
  • Australians are beginning to demand value in exchange for their personal data 

The data value exchange between businesses and consumers is shifting in favour of the consumer, reveals dentsu’s Data Consciousness Project, a proprietary research report examining how Australians feels about businesses accessing and leveraging their personal data. 

Surveying 1,985 people across Australia, the Data Consciousness Project is now in its fifth year and provides a deep dive into how consumers aged between 16 and 65 feel about their data being accessed by brands, responses to emerging technologies like Artificial Technology and their expectations of value in exchange for their data. 

The Data Consciousness Project examines how Australians have shifted from being quite open with their data when the report first began in 2018 to feeling protective and concerned with how businesses intend to use it. 

The report found that 73% of Australians are now fearful of data breaches within a company or brand; 72% fear a company or brand selling personal data to a third party; and 62% fear a lack of understanding on how a company is using their personal data. 

The prevalence of fear amongst Australians comes as almost 2 in 5 received a suspicious email or text requesting personal information while 1 in 4 had experienced their information held by a company being stolen with malicious intent. 

Importantly for marketers, 1 in 10 Australians did switch brands because of a data breach, with most Australians (74%) expecting swift action from brands to improve data privacy and security measures. 

With most Australians concerned around how companies collect, use and share data, Australians will begin to expect more in exchange for their data, with data to emerge as a currency as brands rebuild trust with consumers by offering experiences and opportunities in exchange for data previously handed over for free. 

Christine McKinnon, dentsu Head of Intelligence, said: “In the first half of 2023 there were 409 data breaches, with two of these affecting more than 1 million people and one affecting more than 10 million Australians. It is against this backdrop that Australians have become more concerned about how their data is being collected and how it is being used and are now expecting more from companies. 

"For marketers, the value exchange will be of fundamental importance moving forward as brands must prove they can be trusted to protect their consumers data and also demonstrate the consumer is receiving something in return for their data. 

“In 2024, consumers will begin to assert their right to withhold personal data, whilst expecting the same levels of service from a business. Data as a currency will be one of the top opportunities, and challenges, for businesses this year.” 

To view the 2024 dentsu Data Consciousness Project visit here

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For further information, contact: 

Miranda Ward 
Senior Communications Manager 

About dentsu 

Dentsu is the network designed for what’s next, helping clients predict and plan for disruptive future opportunities in the sustainable economy. Taking a people-centered approach to business transformation, dentsu combines Japanese innovation with a diverse, global perspective to drive client growth and to shape society.