‘Creepy’ technology puts off consumers

Aaron Bunch
(Australian Associated Press)

Consumers don’t trust companies with their personal information and many think technology that knows when their fridge needs refilling is creepy, a study has found.

A big challenge for companies offering customised services designed to understand and anticipate consumers’ needs, is the requirement for vast amounts of personal information.

But according to a study by consulting firm Accenture, brands and Australian consumers are caught in a “vicious circle” over trust and their personal data.

Over half of the more than 1,300 Australian consumers surveyed said they would use smart-reordering in their home to automatically replenish regularly used products but 39 per cent said it felt “slightly creepy” when technology correctly interprets and anticipates their needs.

It was trust and privacy that concerned them most.

Protecting personal information was ranked as “extremely important” by ninety per cent of consumers surveyed.

The managing director of Accenture Products in Australia, Glenn Heppell, says trust will become increasingly challenging for companies to achieve as they attempt to record and store new categories of customer information – such as body measurements and location.

“It’s critical that companies have strong data security and privacy measures in place, they give customers full control over their data, and are transparent with how they use it,” Mr Heppell said.

“Those that succeed will hit a sweet spot whereby Australian customers will be willing to share more personal insights into their world in return for greater value.”

Consumers expressed a strong appetite for personalised service and almost half said they became frustrated when companies did not deliver relevant shopping experiences.

Accenture said 39 per cent of those surveyed switched companies because of a lack of trust with their data or poor personalised service, costing Australian businesses $66 billion last year.

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