Earlier this year, researchers at York University conducted an experiment to see how many people respond to privacy policies when signing up to a fictitious social networking service. During the experiment most participants just accepted the terms – unknowing they just agreed to give up their first-born child. When asking people directly, Forrester’s Consumer Technographics data reveals that just under a third of US online adults agree they usually read a company's privacy policy before completing an online transaction or downloading an app.

Forrester’s Consumer Privacy Segmentation defines four groups of consumers based on their attention to privacy policies and practices, as well as behaviors around safeguarding data, willingness to share personal information, level of trust in a firm's data practices, and overall tech-savviness. In the Age of the Customer, this framework helps firms understand their customers’ privacy behaviors and attitudes to ensure that they’re not jeopardizing customer trust. 


Data-Savvy Digitals are a desirable segment for companies: They have the highest average incomes and spend the most online. Thirty-six percent of US online adults are Data-Savvy Digitals, but we see differences across audiences. For example, sixty-five percent of Millennial parents are Data Savvy Digitals (compared with just 37% of Millennial non-parents), and 75% of Apply Pay users are Data Savvy Digitals. Shoppers of different retailers also show differences in segment distribution: 82% of Diapers.com customers are Data Savvy Digitals, while Walmart and Kohl’s shoppers have a larger share of other segments. 

My coauthor, Fatemeh Khatibloo, Principal Analyst and leading privacy expert, recently shared her highlights from the study in this blog. Read the full report and stay tuned for further research revealing the segment makeup of Canadian and European consumers.