In the US consumers cannot control their digital footprint
From Facebook and Instagram to Amazon Prime, most consumers—at least in the U.S.—have an online footprint που expanding daily.
Email addresses, phone numbers, consumer habits, birthdays, and more are collected into a data profile that is used by Companies and data brokers to better understand consumer needs and wants. Often this is done without the knowledge or consent of consumers.
A study from the University of Pennsylvania found that 8 in 10 Americans (79 percent) feel they have little control over what marketers can learn about them.
This is what experts call "data fatigue": the idea that many consumers know their data is being collected, but feel they can't do much about it. emgo
"Marketers do almost everything they can to get as much information as possible"
The same study found that more than half of respondents did not know the full extent of how companies might use their data. Now, this data collection model is moving offline, into the aisles of your local grocery chain.
"Retailers today are doing almost everything they can to get as much information about you as possible because that's a whole new revenue stream for them," RJ Cross told CNBC. director of the Don't Sell My Data campaign.
"Almost every company you shop from today is in the business of selling your data, and you and your data are their last product [for sale]."
Hundreds of billions of data brokers market
In 2021 the data broker market was valued at $319 billion.
This value is expected to exceed $545 billion by 2028.
In the past, retailers bought data from data brokers to get a better idea of consumer trends.
Now, they're cutting out the middleman and collecting consumer data directly through "tools" like loyalty programs, location tracking, app usage, and even digital receipts.
"My face is part of the data being recorded, my behavior and all of that gives a lot more information about me, my age, my gender, my ethnicity," explained Refive founder and CEO Mitul Jain. "And all that information can then be put back together with all those other little details that I left behind from my shopping trip.”