High-profile data breaches affecting consumer trust in big brands

A survey of 1,000 UK consumers commissioned by FireEye has revealed that last year’s high-profile data breaches have dented long term consumer trust in major brands.

Findings highlighted rising public concerns over a perceived lack of board-level concern for data privacy, with almost three quarters (72 per cent) of consumers stating that they were likely to stop purchasing from a company if a data breach was found to be linked to the boardroom failing to prioritise cyber security. A data breach linked to a lack of board-level attention was deemed less acceptable than if a data breach had occurred as a result of human error – with only 38 per cent of consumers stating that they would be likely to stop purchasing if this was the reason.

29 per cent of consumers said that data breaches had diminished their loyalty as current or potential customers of affected brands, and 38 per cent said that they felt more negatively about companies that suffer data breaches, indicating that consumers are still largely viewing the organisations breached as the parties at fault, rather than victims of cyber crime. In addition to this, over a quarter of consumers (27 per cent) indicated that persistent data breaches have negatively affected their perception of organisations that they buy from in general, indicating that persistent reports of data breaches is not just harming the reputation of affected organisations, but having a wider impact on consumer trust.

The findings also reveal the potential long-term financial impact of data breaches on major brands, with 52 per cent of consumers warning they would take legal action against companies if a data breach resulted in their personal details being stolen or used for criminal purposes. 62 per cent of consumers also reported that they will now share fewer personal details with companies, which could hit the revenues of organisations – from social media platforms to search engines – that rely on collecting detailed consumer data for advertisers.

Richard Turner, President EMEA at FireEye said: “Cyber-attacks and data breaches became almost a daily feature in the news last year, with many UK brands at the centre. This galvanised many company boards into action to limit the immediate financial fallout – by offering free upgrades or compensation to try and retain customers – but these new figures suggest the financial fallout from a data breach is often felt long after the initial attack.

“This survey shines a light on the ‘hidden cost’ of cyber attacks on businesses, with customers less likely to buy from companies with a poor reputation for security, and increasingly willing to take legal action against corporations if their data falls into the wrong hands.

Key UK findings included the following:

  • Almost half (43 per cent) of consumers said that data security was an important or main consideration when buying products and services
  • 62 per cent of consumers will now give less personal information to organisations that supply them with goods and services as a result of the high-profile breaches reported
  • Almost a third (30 per cent) of consumers would consider paying more to a service provider that had better data security
  • 52 per cent of consumers said that they would take legal action against their product or service provider if their personal details were stolen and used for criminal purposes in the event of a data breach
  • 1 out of 10 respondents said that the security of their data was now the main consideration when purchasing goods and services
  • 38 per cent of respondents said that they now have a negative perception of companies that have suffered data breaches last year, while 27 per cent said that the breaches made them view all organisations that they buy from more negatively

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