GDPR from a consumer perspective

As GDPR fast approaches, many stories have focused on the impact of the new, more stringent regulation on businesses: will they be ready, how much they will be fined etc.

What hasn’t been explored in as great a detail, is how will people respond to the regulation. Will they, as the GDPR offers, opt to have their data deleted? A survey from SAS explores this subject from a UK perspective, what are the nation’s sentiment towards upcoming legislative change that empowers consumers with new rights over how their personal data is handled by organisations?

>See also: GDPR compliance: what organisations need to know

Straight of the bat, 15% of adults polled expressed their intention to activate their new rights in the same month that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force on 25 May 2018.

The 45- to 54-year-old age group is most likely to issue a request, with just over one in five (21%) thinking they will active their new rights in the first month. The propensity to submit a request drops to 13% in the 18- to 24-year-old age category.

This is perhaps unsurprising, as some could argue that this younger age category is more reliant on organisations’ access to their data.

There are regional variations as well, with adults in the North East and South East more inclined to submit a request within the first month (18%). This drops to 12% in Wales, 11% in the East of England and just 7% in Northern Ireland.

Compliance with the new data rights, which promote openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals, is said to be proving challenging for organisations. Gartner recently warned that by the end of 2018 at least 50 per cent of companies will not be in full compliance with the regulations.

>See also: GDPR: the good, the not so bad and the opportunities

The consumer poll explored which organisations would receive a request to remove or provide access to consumer data with social media companies, retailers, insurers and supermarkets ranking top of the list.

“Finding customer zero is a huge challenge for some organisations. Personal data is often stored in thousands of databases and organisations will need to find, evaluate and categorise every piece of data relating to each customer to ensure compliance,” said Charles Senabulya, vice president and country manager for SAS UK & Ireland.

“Overcoming this challenge presents an opportunity for organisations as they form a new type of relationship with their customers that is bound by integrity, understanding and respect for their individual choices. We are entering a new data era that requires a firm grip of customer data. One that rewards consumers as well as protects their right to privacy.”

>See also: 1 in 4 UK businesses have CANCELLED preparations for GDPR

The poll also asked consumers what information they were prepared to share with their favourite brands or organisations, so they could benefit from improved or tailored services. It revealed that only a minority would voluntarily share what their friends and relatives like or dislike, details on their social media activity, information on their feelings or emotions or insight into their credit rating, political preferences and opinions on societal issues.

The younger you are, the more willing you are to share your personal information. The poll revealed that the percentage of people willing to share information in each age category generally decreased with age. This suggests a shift in attitudes towards personal data among a new generation of consumers.


The UK’s largest conference for tech leadershipTech Leaders Summit, returns on 14 September with 40+ top execs signed up to speak about the challenges and opportunities surrounding the most disruptive innovations facing the enterprise today. Secure your place at this prestigious summit by registering here

Avatar photo

Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

Related Topics

Personal Data