Millennials’ Embrace of Data Sharing Aids Retailers

Sharing data from smartphones less of a concern among the demographic

Author: Monica Melton

August 24, 2017

Younger people appear to be far more comfortable than their older counterparts when it comes to sharing data on their mobile device activities.

According to a June 2017 Bank of America study of US smartphone users, millennials were more amenable to the idea that their smartphones were tracking everything from physical activity to news preferences. 

For instance, 45% of millennials were OK with their phones tracking their spending habits, compared with just 26% of all respondents. In addition, 44% of millennials were comfortable with devices tracking their location, with just 37% of those polled saying the same.

Similarly, February 2017 data from Retail Dive conducted by Google found that millennials ages 25 to 34 were three times more likely than respondents 65 and older to share personal information with their favorite retailer. 

This sort of data can be particularly useful for retailers for a range of purposes. “[Location data] can be used for not only better marketing, but also better construction of creative, better omnichannel marketing and better sequential messaging,” said Duncan McCall, CEO of location data and technology company PlaceIQ.

The trade-off between privacy in exchange for a benefit, convenience or bargain among smartphone users is nothing new. And for those who grew up using smartphones, sharing data might feel like second nature.

But according to Mark Dolliver, senior analyst at eMarketer, millennials may not consider all of the ways their data could ultimately be used.

“I’m not sure the issue of privacy even arises for a lot of millennials. Their smartphone is so much an extension of self that they may simply feel they’re sharing personal information with themselves, and not with outside entities to which the phone may be transmitting information,” he said.