Data Privacy Survey

According to a new KPMG survey, there is a deep disconnect between corporate data practices and consumer expectations. As businesses collect more and more personal data, many people are increasingly suspicious of how their data is being used and report concerns about the level of data collection. Smart companies will view this as an opportunity to take meaningful action and build enduring consumer trust.  

Key survey findings

In a survey of 250 business leaders:

  • 70% say their company increased collection of consumer personal data over the last year
  • 62% say their organization should be doing more to strengthen existing data protection measures
  • 33% say consumers should be concerned about how their personal data is used by their company
  • 29% say their company sometimes uses unethical data collection methods

In a survey of 2,000 respondents characterized as general population:

  • 86% say data privacy is a growing concern for them
  • 68% are concerned about the level of data being collected by businesses
  • 40% don’t trust companies to ethically use their data
  • 30% aren’t willing to share their personal data for any reason

“This split between business and consumer sentiment isn’t new, but its persistence shows that businesses have a long way to go to make the public more comfortable with how they are collecting, using and safeguarding data,” says Orson Lucas, KPMG US Privacy Services Leader.  “Failure to bridge this divide could present a real risk of losing access to the valuable data and insights that drive growth.”

Businesses can help bridge this gap

To bridge this gap, companies must put data protection at the forefront and take meaningful action to build consumer trust. Leaders should consider:

Becoming more explicit and transparent about how consumer data will be used. 76% of survey respondents say they want more transparency around how their personal data is being used by companies, and 40% say they would willingly share their personal data if they knew exactly how it would be used—and by whom. Right now, only 53% of business leaders say their company shows how such data will be used.

Viewing better data management as an opportunity. By using increasingly precise consent management tools, smart businesses are giving consumers more control over their personal data. But many are overly focused on how these tools can manage risk—and miss massive opportunities to nurture relationships. A consumer opting to share their data can suggest interest in deeper engagement with the business. Smart businesses will use these opportunities to establish richer, more productive and mutually beneficial relationships.

Investing in new tools. Leveraging data discovery and protection tools, as well as exploring new use cases for blockchain and artificial intelligence, can enhance data protection and build consumer trust. These technologies can help organizations build greater visibility into their data practices, from better data tracking to ensuring accuracy throughout the lifecycle. 

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



Orson Lucas

Orson Lucas

Principal, Advisory, Cyber Security Services, KPMG US

+1 704-502-1067

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