Leveraging technology to protect consumer data and build trust

Businesses rely on consumer data for a wide range of applications. In our latest survey, 84% of business leaders say their organization uses personal consumer data to improve products and services, 70% say they use it to support the use or development of emerging technologies, and 50% use it to inform marketing efforts.

But, as companies expand their collection and use of personal data, many people are growing increasingly concerned – 86% of general population respondents say data privacy is a growing concern for them. 

One theme where companies and consumers seem to be on the same page? Business leaders can do more on data protection.

  • The vast majority of U.S. general population respondents—88%—say they want corporations to take the lead in establishing corporate data responsibility and share more details on how they protect data.
  • 62% of business leaders acknowledge their companies should be doing more to strengthen existing data protection measures.

“Our research has provided insights into how individuals want businesses to handle their personal data,” says Sokalski. “Companies that take the lead on this issue—by demonstrating that they are hearing what consumers are saying and taking meaningful action—will be positioned to reap the ongoing benefits of access to consumer data.”

Given the critical and growing importance of consumer data, it makes sense for businesses to develop policies and practices that address consumer concerns, and to be forthright in sharing those policies and practices. Businesses should consider intentional action to safeguard data, educate consumers, and help close the gap between their practices and consumer expectations.

"Businesses should consider consider how leveraging data discovery and governance tools, as well as exploring the implications of new use cases powered by emerging tech like machine learning and AI, can enhance data protection and build consumer trust," says Martin Sokalski, KPMG U.S. Emerging Technology and Digital Solutions leader. "These technologies can help organizations build greater visibility into their data practices, from better data tracking to helping ensure integrity and fairness throughout the life cycle."

By taking the right approach to data—being more transparent and giving consumers more control—businesses have an opportunity to build consumer trust and solidify access to this critical resource.

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



Martin Sokalski

Martin Sokalski

Principal, Advisory, Digital Lighthouse, KPMG US

+1 312-665-4937

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