LONDON, May 25, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --
But three quarters would sign up to a mailing list if incentivised with credit or vouchers
Nearly two thirds (63 percent) of UK consumers would prefer to receive fewer emails from companies. According to a survey of 1,000 UK internet users commissioned by TopLine Comms, the vast majority (82 percent) care about how their personal data is used by organisations, and over two fifths (41 percent) are opting out of current email subscriptions - leaving companies scrambling to retain subscriber numbers post-GDPR.
Designed to give users greater control over their personal information, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect on 25 May. Despite the respondents' enthusiasm for data privacy (and lighter inboxes), the research suggests that UK consumers are still in the dark about the specifics of GDPR.
Less than half (42 percent) of respondents could correctly identify what GDPR is and only 37 percent think GDPR will impact them personally. This unfamiliarity extended to other data privacy measures - one in five said that they don't know what a cookie is and nearly one fifth (17 percent) ignore or immediately delete messages with privacy notice updates.
"Most UK consumers clearly have no idea what the GDPR means for them," says Heather Baker, co-founder and CEO of TopLine Comms. "The business community is similarly lost: there's no real consensus on what will and will not be acceptable after 25th May."
Under GDPR, organisations must satisfy one of six "legitimate interests" in order to process and store consumer data. For many companies, this will mean using an explicit 'opt-in' from consumers to use data for marketing communications. Consequently, these organisations are frantically contacting users to request their consent to use their data ahead of the 25 May deadline.
Baker continues: "If the government wants GDPR to be a force for positive change in the way we treat data, it needs to do a better job of clarifying what is and what is not acceptable under GDPR, how these laws will change post-Brexit, how penalties will be determined, and what it means for consumers and businesses."
"Customers have received a panicked deluge of opt-in emails from marketing departments, and it's altogether unsurprising: the fines for violation the GDPR can run into the millions, but there is absolutely no information about the most serious breaches that merit the most serious fines. Most companies are therefore erring on the side of caution."
Email marketing may be particularly impacted by GDPR. Overall, 78 percent consumers believe that if an organisation has their email address, it has the right to email them - but less than a tenth (9 percent) believe that an organisation can email them marketing materials.
"Email marketing's expiry date may be fast-approaching - and brands may soon have to explore other options," adds Baker. "Expect to see more emphasis on PR, search and social advertising as marketers rely less on email marketing and outbound selling to generate leads."