How do data leaks affect customer loyalty?

Graeme BruceBusiness Data Journalist
August 11, 2021, 7:28 PM UTC

Countless global brands have had to reckon with data breaches and hacks in recent year. However these issues don’t necessarily lead to widespread customer loss. 

According to research conducted by YouGov in 17 key markets, just 15% of consumers say they have switched providers or products because of a loss of data. This reason to brand jump is low on our list, behind poor environmental records (21%), product failures (23%), poor treatment of employees (23%), and lying about product performance (31%). 

Hacking incidents, however, are marginally higher on our list than having a dominant position in the marketplace (14%) or companies taking extreme measures to minimize tax bills (14%).

Of course, consumer habits change dramatically between markets. Our data indicates that, generally speaking, consumers in the Asia-Pacific region are quicker to ditch a brand because of a data breach compared to other global markets. A significant proportion of consumers in Hong King (30%), Singapore (25%), Indonesia (24%), China (21%), and India (20%) have switched brands because of data incidents.

In response to the will of the people, the Chinese government is drafting data privacy legislation similar to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Observers suggest the legislation could be the envy of America. 

American consumers are slightly more likely than global consumers in general to indicate they have changed brands (18%) in the wake of a privacy breach, while Brits are a little less likely (12%). Consumers in France (10%), Sweden (7%) and Denmark (5%) are the least likely of all. 

Attitude differences do appear between age groups, although they are not dramatic. Younger consumers, age 18-24 (17%) and 25-34 (18%), are more likely than older consumers age 55+ to ditch a brand because of a breach (12%).

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Methodology: The data is based on the interviews of adults aged 18 and over in 17 markets with sample sizes varying between 509 and 2,012 for each market. All interviews were conducted online in May 2021. Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample apart from Mexico and India, which use urban representative samples, and Indonesia and Hong Kong, which use online representative samples.