76% Indian consumers concerned about privacy, data sharing on social media: PwC report

According to the PwC’s Voice of the Consumer Survey 2024, social media is the least trusted channel. The report also notes that 82% of Indian consumers consider the protection of personal data as the most crucial factor in building trust.

By  Storyboard18Jul 11, 2024 3:49 PM
76% Indian consumers concerned about privacy, data sharing on social media: PwC report
While 77% discover new brands via social media and 81% use it to seek reviews before purchasing, concerns persist; 76% worry about privacy and data sharing, underscoring the need for stringent privacy measures. (Representative image via Unsplash)

For the Indian consumers, social media is the least trusted channel when it comes to data sharing and privacy, claims the the PwC India’s latest survey 'Voice of the Consumer Survey 2024'.

Despite widespread social media use, with 58% of consumers buying products directly through platforms, trust remains low (it has been the least trusted industry), the report said.

While 77% discover new brands via social media and 81% use it to seek reviews before purchasing, concerns persist; 76% worry about privacy and data sharing, underscoring the need for stringent privacy measures. Influencer endorsements and targeted ads significantly influence purchasing decisions.

PwC India’s latest survey looks at how Indian consumers’ sentiment and shopping behaviours are determinants of brand strategies and marketing spends. An overwhelming 82% of 1,000 Indian consumers stated that protection of their personal data is one of the most crucial factors to earn their trust.

Ravi Kapoor, Partner and Leader – Retail and Consumer sector, PwC India commented, “​​Indian consumers’ optimistic sentiment shines through the survey with a whooping 75% consumers saying that they will increase spends in the clothing/footwear/grocery and health and beauty categories in the next six months. The main theme of the survey is the need for brands to stay authentic to earn consumer trust and ultimately build loyalty."

"Our survey reveals three main drivers of building trust; firstly, how well do brands make life easier for their consumers; secondly, how well they connect with their consumers and finally how do they ensure inclusiveness with their consumers. These building blocks are in turn shaped by their six underlying imperatives of focusing on value-creating purchase journeys, proactively helping consumers manage their health and wellness needs, staying authentic on social media channels, building watertight personal data protection capabilities, creating sustainable business models and, finally, deploying generative AI tools responsibly. In our survey, protecting consumer data has therefore not surprisingly been voted by 82% of consumers as the most important factor that will help build trust,” he said.

The survey advises businesses to safeguard personal data and use it responsibly to enhance personalised services without compromising privacy. It highlights key trust factors including high-quality products and services, clear communication, consistent consumer experiences, affordability, transparency in ESG matters, and improved decision-making and execution.

The six key imperatives essential for building consumer trust and specific actions for businesses to meet these expectations are as follows:

- Personal data: Emphasising data security's critical importance, the survey recommends businesses adopt rigorous data protection measures and transparently manage consumer data. While 83% of consumers value knowing their devices secure their information, 74% approve using their data for beneficial services. Additionally, over 66% are willing to share data for more personalised experiences.

- Health and well-being: The survey highlights consumer emphasis on health, showing a preference for wellness-focused and sustainable products. Businesses are advised to align their offerings with wellness, nutrition, and sustainable practices. Notably, 69% of consumers plan to eat more fruits and vegetables soon, and 75% actively seek information on food sustainability. Additionally, 38% trust health and fitness experts for wellness advice. Millennials are particularly proactive, with 78% favouring independent sustainability scores on labels, compared to 66% of Gen Z.

- Purchase journey and value: In India, in-store shopping remains popular, with 56% of consumers frequently purchasing from physical stores compared to 47% shopping online—higher than the global average of 34. About 62% prefer visiting stores to discover products, while 53% browse online. The primary channels for purchases are in-store (43%) and online marketplaces (44%). The survey suggests businesses enhance the physical store experience by incorporating technologies like augmented reality and mobile payments to make shopping more seamless and engaging.

Indian consumers prioritise climate change and health risks slightly above inflation, with 46% viewing climate change as the greatest threat for the next year. Notably, 93% have experienced climate-related disruptions, surpassing the global average of 85%. This awareness is prompting 60% of consumers to shift towards sustainable products. The top incentives for sustainable purchasing include water conservation (43%), eco-friendly packaging (41%), and waste reduction and recycling (36%). Consumers are also willing to pay a premium of 13.1% for sustainably sourced goods.

The survey cautions businesses to carefully integrate AI, emphasising the need to balance AI with human interaction, especially in complex and personal services. While 57% of consumers trust AI for low-risk activities like obtaining product information or receiving recommendations, they remain sceptical about AI’s role in high-risk tasks.

Despite interest in chatbots, there is a strong preference for direct interaction with sales representatives. Additionally, over 86% of consumers express concerns about the potential cyber risks and job security implications of future AI developments.


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First Published on Jul 11, 2024 3:49 PM

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