More than three-quarters of Australian consumers (78%) do not have full knowledge of how organisations are using their personal data and 73% have limited or no control over how their data is used or disclosed to other organisations, according to new research released by customer engagement platform, Twilio.

The research uncovered a correlation between comfort levels in sharing personal data and knowledge about how organisations utilise this data. More than two-thirds (70%) of Australian consumers surveyed said they would be willing to share more information if they trusted a company or brand.

To enhance trust, 65% of Australian respondents also expect clear and comprehensible information about data usage, emphasising the importance of transparency in building consumer confidence. A similar number (65%) also expected a company to ask for consent before using data, and to inform them how their data will be protected (64%).

Respondents appreciate the benefits of personalised experiences, with over half (51%) acknowledging that personal data usage enhances their interaction with brand websites. Almost all (93%) are also aware that rejecting site/apps’ use of cookies limits that brand’s ability to personalise their engagement.

However, while 79% of local respondents either accept all cookies or allow selected cookies, further report findings show this may not be due to a willingness to engage in data sharing. In fact, more than one-third (34%) of Australian consumers feel they have to give up personal information they don’t want to share just to access basic digital services either most or all of the time.

Similarly, two-thirds (63%) of Australian respondents believe consumers should avoid websites that collect cookies all together. An overwhelming 89% agree that site owners must disclose their use of cookies and provide the option to opt out, or risk losing consumer trust. Following a data breach, 21% of Australian respondents would still continue to share personal data with their favourite brand.

Close to half (45%) of consumers would also be more willing to share personal data if the brand is transparent about the breach and takes necessary steps to address the situation. When asked what would lead them to trust a brand, Australian consumers rated highest those companies they have already had good experiences with (58%), companies they frequently buy from (54%) and those that are transparent about policies (53%). Only one-quarter would trust brands that are popular in their social circles, and only one-third would trust those with good online reviews. 

Twilio vice president of marketing for Asia Pacific and Japan, Nicholas Kontopoulos said, “Australian consumers are feeling a strong lack of control and awareness around how their data is used. This uncertainty is unsurprisingly leading to greater hesitation around data sharing. But when consumer trust is earned through positive experiences, consumers are more willing to share personal data – even in the wake of a breach. So clearly brand trust will play a pivotal role in forging the pathway to a healthy and sustainable data-sharing ecosystem in the post-cookie era.”