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Gen Y on Online Privacy: More Talk than Action?

Intercept Group PrivacyA recent study by Red Peak Youth revealed that while 73 percent of 18-24 year old and 80 percent of 25-34 year old respondents said that they are “concerned about online privacy”, only 26% of them actually read privacy policies on websites. As a generation that shops online and widely uses social media to share personal information, this has a few implications. One, it means that millennials are essentially handing over personal data to marketers, since a huge number of websites feature privacy policies that explicitly state that they may sell user information to marketers. Secondly, it shows that Gen Y is more likely to verbalize their dislike of data mining than actually fight it at this point – they want to use these websites, after all, and most of them aren’t reading the associated policies. It’s a matter of convenience over a desire for online privacy, despite it being presented as a major concern among youth.

But things change and concerns can grow over time, going from something we complain about to something we fight for. So, should brands just go ahead and data mine as much as they can, while they can? The answer is no – not if you want to stay on top with millennials. This is a generation that cares about company ethics and morals, and who broadcast their opinions online. They may not be taking notice in great numbers now, but as public concern grows and the government gets involved, they will notice privacy policies and judge them accordingly. Instead of taking advantage, make strides toward winning with Gen Y by creating a clear, honest privacy policy that is easy to read and understand. As online privacy becomes more of an issue and firmer regulations start to take shape, be ready – if you’re already in good standing with consumers and have nothing to hide, you’ll have nothing or little to change when millennials do take action. This could very well mean the difference between creating brand loyalty that lasts vs losing consumers to broken trust. Plan now – win later.