Building enduring consumer trust in data practices

Our latest survey highlights a deep disconnect between corporate data practices and consumer expectations. As businesses report collecting more and more consumer data, data privacy concerns are on the rise.

70% of business leaders say their company increased its collection of personal consumer data over the past year. At the same time, 68% of general population respondents are concerned about the level of data being collected by businesses, and 64% say companies are not doing enough to protect consumer data. 

Many business leaders acknowledge there is reason for consumer concern. Speaking about their own employer, 33% of business leaders say consumers should be concerned about how their personal data is used by their company, and 29% acknowledge that their company sometimes uses unethical data collection methods.

One major risk – worried consumers could shut off the personal data spigot that businesses rely on for a range of applications. In fact, 83% of survey respondents already say they would not willingly share their data to help businesses make better products and services. 

“The collection and use of consumer data has become so integral to business operations that it is hard to imagine companies will pull back unless forced to do so,” says Rob Fisher, US KPMG IMPACT Leader. “But the longer companies lag behind consumer expectations, the risk of losing access to that data will grow exponentially. The challenge moving forward will be to better align practices with the expectations of customers and potential customers.”

One topic where consumers and business leaders seem to be on the same page? That companies can (and should) be doing more. 62% of business leaders say their companies should be doing more to strengthen existing data protection measures, and 88% of general population respondents also say they want corporations to take the lead.

Companies can start to take action and build consumer trust by demonstrating competence, integrity, and humanity in connection with data practices:

  • Competence: ability to securely handle data because the right technology, policies and practices are in place across the entire customer journey.  
  • Integrity: courage to be transparent about how you are using data and how it impacts the consumer.
  • Humanity: developing data practices that treat consumers the way you would like to be treated.

Elevating the trust factor might mean giving consumers more opportunities to opt out of sharing data, or even making ‘opt out’ the default choice. By demonstrating competence, integrity and humanity, businesses can build enduring consumer trust—an increasingly critical currency in our rapidly changing environment.

About the survey

The findings in the Corporate Data Responsibility: Bridging the Trust Chasm report are based on the results from two surveys. General population: an online survey among a nationally representative audience of 2,000 U.S. adults, fielded from April 30, 2021 to May 6, 2021. Business leaders: an online survey among 250 director level (or higher) decision-makers with involvement in security/privacy/data decisions at companies with 1,000+ employees from April 30, 2021 to May 12, 2021.  

Melanie Batley is a member of KPMG's Corporate Communications team. Please contact her for additional information or to arrange an interview.

Media contact

Melanie Malluk Batley

Melanie Malluk Batley

Associate Director, Corporate Communications, KPMG US

+1 201-307-8217



Rob Fisher

Rob Fisher


+1 804-782-4226

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