Consumers Want Personalized Online Experience but Are Cautious, Survey Says

Aug 16, 2005

According to a recent national survey, the vast majority of consumers want an online experience that is highly personalized. However, 63% of those same consumers are concerned that their personal data might not be secure with personalization. The Second Annual Personalization Survey indicates that in order to deliver a personalized user experience, online content and ecommerce sites must demonstrate that they have robust security in place and clearly-articulated policies for safeguarding consumer information.

The survey also finds that retailers are leaving significant dollars on the table by not making it easier for consumers to find merchandise that interests them. Thirty seven percent of respondents indicated that the last time they went shopping for DVDs/videos, they would have bought more if they had found more that they liked. The same was true of consumers shopping for music, with 34% indicating that they would have bought more if they had found additional titles that they liked. Based on the fear of losing personal information, fewer consumers than last year are willing to provide personal preference and demographic information in exchange for personalized content, according to the survey. In 2005, 59% of respondents indicated a willingness to provide preference information, down six percent from 2004. Additionally, 46% of respondents are willing to provide demographic data in 2005, down 11% from 2004.

Other findings of the survey, include:

  • Interest in personalization continues to be strong, with 80% of consumers interested in receiving personalized content versus 81% in 2004. Younger respondents continue to be more interested in personalization, with 83% of 18-24 year olds expressing an interest in some type of personalized content and 73% of 50+ year olds indicating an interest.
  • Consumers are willing to spend a considerable amount of time answering questions about themselves in exchange for personalized content, with 60% of consumers indicating they would spend at least 2 minutes answering questions about themselves and their interests in order to receive personalized content, versus 56% in 2004. These results are divided along gender lines, with women more likely to spend time answering questions about their tastes and interests than men.
  • Interest levels in different types of content were found to vary by age group. The top three content areas for which younger respondents are most interested in receiving personalized recommendations are music (47%), followed by TV/movies (27%) and books (24%). Among older respondents, particularly those in the 50+ category, personalized news is of the greatest interest (28%), followed by Web search (26%), and books (22%).
  • Interest in music personalization remains high overall (25% in 2005 versus 29% in 2004), but reflects an age bias, with younger consumers indicating a significantly greater interest than older ones.
  • A high percent of consumers (45%) are already buying at least some of their music online, with a higher number (53%) intending to buy online over the next six months.