Here are 5 of the biggest privacy trends in the consumer/digital information world

Third party tracking cookies are quickly falling out of favor, with Firefox shutting down some tracking cookies in 2019 and Apple’s sweeping blocking of all third party tracking playing a role. Google is also planning to end the use of third party tracking cookies by 2023, but what do consumers think about it all? The Global Web Index recently published some statistics that shed some light on this situation.

There are five basic trends that this report highlights, the first of these trends being that privacy preferences have remained fairly consistent over time. With all that said and now out of the way, it’s important to remember that older consumers tend to be more focused on privacy than the younger demographic. Only 22% of Baby Boomers said they felt like they had control over their online data, but 27% of Gen Z respondents said the same, all things considered.

Another trend that can be seen in this report is that more consumers are opting for privacy-oriented options in their favorite products. Many of these consumers are switching to DuckDuckGo because it’s the kind of thing that allows them to use a search engine that automatically blocks any tracking efforts from third parties. DuckDuckGo has seen US-based user numbers grow by 69% since the second quarter of 2020.

Also, while privacy behaviors are consistent across most demographics, the reasons for implementing a particular privacy-conscious approach may differ depending on the demographic that the consumer is in question. For example, baby boomers use ad blockers because of the lack of representation they see in the ads they see. Gen Z, on the other hand, is more likely to use ad blockers so they can avoid seeing any kind of inappropriate content online. Therefore, the rationale for each demographic is based on a few contextual factors.

As for the responses people show to cookie consent prompts, there are three basic responses that are based on the trends covered in this report. Almost half of users in 9 markets said they automatically accept any cookies for which a website asks for consent. Despite the fact that this is the case, about a third of respondents said they would change the settings to better suit their preferences, and about 6% would close by prompting and decide to abandon their visit to that particular website.

The top three reasons for disliking these pop-ups, each of which was selected by 26% of respondents, were as follows: decreased enjoyment of the online experience, difficulty making the right choice and the overwhelming amount of information contained in these pop-ups. The presence of unclear information or excessive jargon was also cited as a major reason for a quarter or 25% of respondents to be precise.

The biggest trend that can be analyzed through this data set is that transparency is becoming more important than ever. 46% of US respondents said they wanted to know more about why their data was being asked for and what to do after consenting to a website using the data. This indicates that many more consumers would be willing to consent to first-party tracking if they were given a little more transparency in such matters.

All of these factors need to be recognized by websites and brands, especially now that third party tracking is rapidly becoming a thing of the past.

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