From Facebook and Instagram to Amazon Prime, most American consumers’ online presence is growing daily.
Email addresses, phone numbers, shopping habits, birthdays and more are being incorporated into a monetizable data profile that companies and data brokers are using to better understand consumers’ needs and desires. Often this occurs without consumers’ knowledge or informed consent.
A study from University of Pennsylvania found that 79% of Americans feel they have little control over what marketers can find out about them. Experts are calling this “data fatigue,” the idea that many consumers know their data is being collected, but feel there is little they can do to stop it. The same study found that more than half of respondents did not know what companies could do with their data. Now that data acquisition model is happening offline, in the aisles of your local grocery chain.
“Retailers today are doing everything they can to get as much information as possible about you, because it’s a whole new source of revenue for them,” said RJ Cross, director of the Public Interest Research Group’s Don’t Sell My Data campaign. ” “Almost every single company you buy from today is in the business of selling your data, and you and your data are their latest product.”
Data Broker Market Value Estimated in 2021 $319 billion, This value is expected to cross $545 billion by 2028. In the past retailers would buy data from data brokers to get a better idea of consumer trends. Now, they’re cutting out the middleman, collecting consumer data directly through things like loyalty programs, location tracking, app usage, and even digital receipts.
Mitul Jain, founder and CEO of Refive, said, “My face is part of the data that is being captured, my behavior and all this gives information about me, my age, my gender, my ethnicity and many more ” “And all these pieces of information can then be combined with all the little things I’m missing during my shopping trip.”
Watch the video above to learn how retailers are collecting and using consumer data and why the US government is stepping in now.
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