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UAE shoppers want bucks for their information

UAE shoppers want bucks for their info: More customers willing to shell out personal details in lieu of actual rewards

Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/ Gulf News Archives

Duba: More UAE shoppers no longer believe in giving away their details for free – these days they are quite likely to insist on getting something in return from retailers in return. The “value” of such data exchanges could be worth anywhere from Dh50 for each bit of personal data to Dh80, according to a study done by the market research consultancy Aimia.

They expect the most in return for shelling out their email and mobile number details. And less so for marketers to know about their shopping habits, online and offline, as well as personal details such as name and date-of-birth. They place the least value on matters related to household income and occupation details. 

In return for such data, retailers must be willing to pay up in the form of discounts, rewards, loyalty schemes, according to the study.

But while 31 per cent of UAE consumers regard their data as highly valuable, this is still lower than the global average of 41 per cent, based on the Aimia findings.

It was conducted across nine markets, including the US, the UK and India, and featured the opinions of 15,000 respondents. (South Korean consumers placed the highest value on what they were willing to reveal about themselves — a stiff $120 for each detail.)

With the rise and rise of online shopping, personal details on how consumers are looking to spend has assumed significance as never before. More so, as retailers can no longer get by offering “one size fits all” kind of initiatives targeted at consumers. These days, the retailer needs to do much better than that – personalize the reaching out to suit the buying habits of the individual.

This is where data collection comes in. The retailer or marketer holding on to the best-informed data stands a much better chance of cutting through the clutter and connecting.  

But they better be prepared to “pay up” for these services. Already, 53 per cent of UAE consumers have taken steps to limit brands from tracking and advertising to them online, the survey finds. 

“Brands need to be aware that — unlike in the past — consumers are placing a perceived value for their data,” said Paul Lacey, Managing Director of Aimia Middle East in a phone interview.

“And if retailers can offer a context to why they are collecting the data, consumers show a greater willingness to share. Those that don’t run the risk of losing access to customers’ data altogether or potentially having to pay them for the privilege.

“The survey clearly show this is how users in the UAE — as many as two-thirds of respondents - want to see it done."

Of late, such consumers need a lot more convincing. There is the constant threat of hackers getting into retailer tech systems and collecting the information they have on their shoppers.

And especially when more shoppers prefer using their “digital wallets” stored on their mobile phones to effect a transaction. Based on the survey, 68 per cent of respondents in the UAE are likely to use digital wallets.

The comparable figure for the US, the UK and Germany are 49, 44 and 32 per cent respectively. (Indian consumers show a staggering 89 per cent preference, and that’s something that could only grow further after the demonetization moves on the part of the government.)

“Retailers need to make it very clear about why they are collecting the data points and how they are going to use it,” said Lacey. “Ultimately it boils down to how transparent they are.

 “This remains the case even when a retailer/marketer sell their data to third-parties, though it’s my view that there shouldn’t be a reselling of people’s data.”   


What UAE shoppers want for data

As per Aimi's Global Loyalty Lens survey,

* Dh50 for online data such as browsing history and online purchases;

* Dh80 for contact information such as mobile phone number and emails; and

* Dh70 for personal information such as name, nationality and date of birth.

* Only 32 per cent would share their web history when no context or example was given. This rose to 51 per cent when context and an example was given.

As many as 44 per cent are happy to share their online shopping history without context or an example, rising to 64 per cent with context and an example.