New Research: What Is the Future of Data Sharing?

October 27, 2015

I am delighted to release the results of a new global business study — “What Is the Future of Data Sharing? Consumer Mindsets and the Power of Brands.” (Download here.)

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As data becomes an increasingly important asset for any business, access to accurate data from customers—about their interests, behaviors, and identity—is vital to successful, durable relationships. Our research explores how businesses can make data sharing a “win-win” for both companies and the customers they serve.

With my co-author Matthew Quint, we surveyed attitudes towards sharing data with business in six different industries, talking with 8,000 consumers from the US, UK, Canada, France, and India.

Our surprising findings show that even consumers who are actively protective of their data are often happy to share it for relevant offers and value. The study revealed four distinct “mindsets” that consumers have towards sharing data. And we uncovered clear opportunities for business to use data to add more value to their relationships with consumers.

The research goes far beyond general consumer attitudes towards data, in order to answer:

  • How do consumers think about specific types of personal data (e.g. sharing their name vs. their purchase history) – and how do men and women differ?
  • Which industries do consumers feel more comfortable sharing their data with?
  • Do trusted brands fare any better in persuading consumers to share personal data?
  • What is “the Amazon effect,” and what does it tell us about who consumers will share data with?
  • How do attitudes around data-sharing vary between US, UK, Canada, France, and India?
  • Do Millennial and Gen X consumers really differ in their attitudes towards data?
  • How does a consumer’s “data-sharing mindset” predict her likelihood to share data—and what does this tell us about future trends?
  • What new kinds of value can companies offer to consumers— security, recommendation tools, even societal benefits—that may persuade them to share their data?

Today, businesses that hope to build an effective data strategy need to invest in building both data, and the trust of customers that makes it accessible. By giving customers more value—not just with traditional offers, but with new kinds of data-enabled benefits—and offering more transparency and control, businesses can develop a long-term relationship with customers that puts data at the center of a true value exchange.

Download the full report:

The research study “What Is the Future of Data Sharing?” was produced by Columbia Business School’s Center on Global Brand Leadership (, in conjunction with the Aimia Institute (

Happy reading!


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