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Online shoppers are turning to guest checkouts due to security fears

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(Image credit: Shutterstock / whiteMocca)

To avoid sharing private and sensitive data with retailers and other companies, almost a quarter of online shoppers (22 percent) opt for a guest account. This is according to a new report from global commerce search and discovery platform, Empathy.co.

Polling 4,000 online shoppers in the UK, the company not only identified increasing awareness of sensitive data among consumers, but also that almost half prefer shopping with trusted brands. A fifth are more willing to share their private data with such organizations, and almost a quarter (22 percent) wouldn’t mind spending more with firms they can trust.

Customer perception of how organizations handle personal data fuels much of this mistrust, Empathy.co believes. It found that two in five don’t like being asked for unnecessary or sensitive data, and almost a third (28 percent) would like to take some of the information back from certain firms.

And while almost half said they are careful when they share sensitive information, more than a third would like more control over the data different organizations have on them. They believe some of that data is given away in ignorance and without consent.

Most consumers are worried about the way businesses are using the data they have on them. Furthermore, they aren't pleased with the idea of businesses remembering their tastes and preferences, through the use of cookies.

“Data privacy is of such importance in today’s climate that just promising to not misuse data is no longer enough, and brands need to show that they’re behaving ethically and that they are using customer data responsibly,” said Angel Maldonado, CEO at Empathy.co.