September 05, 2013 09:00 ET

TRUSTe Study Shows Many Consumers More Concerned About Mobile Privacy Than a Phone's Brand or Screen Size; 78% Won't Download Apps They Don't Trust

TRUSTe Unveils Latest Consumer Mobile Privacy Research, Kicks Off Global 'Powering Trust' Roadshow

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - Sep 5, 2013) - TRUSTe, the leading global data privacy management (DPM) company, today released findings from its "2013 U.S. Consumer Data Privacy Study: Mobile Edition," conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of TRUSTe among more than 700 U.S. smartphone users between June 12 and June 19, 2013. The study provides a valuable barometer on current consumer perceptions and mobile privacy trends by examining issues, such as data collection, geo-location tracking, mobile advertising and privacy management responsibility. TRUSTe will share the full research results in a series of "Powering Trust" roadshow events to provide brands and publishers with information and tools to manage the privacy challenges in today's data economy.

Among the top findings: many smartphone users are more concerned about mobile privacy than a phone's brand, screen size, weight or camera resolution; nearly 8 in 10 smartphone users won't download an app they don't trust; and although the majority of those surveyed don't like the concept of tracking, nearly a third of smartphone users are still unaware it even happens.

"With mobile privacy concerns running hotter than ever, the business implications simply can't be ignored," said Chris Babel, CEO for TRUSTe. "If a user won't download an app or share location data, mobile commerce -- and technology innovation -- takes a hit. To secure their future growth, companies must address mobile privacy concerns now -- giving users what they're asking for with more transparency and control over their privacy choices."

Concurrent with the release of its U.S. mobile survey, TRUSTe also announced findings from its "2013 UK Consumer Data Privacy Study: Mobile Edition." See study here.

2013 U.S. Consumer Data Privacy Study: Mobile Edition - Detailed Findings
Mobile privacy concerns remain high

  • 78% of smartphone users surveyed won't download an app they don't trust, (down from 85% in 2012)
  • Privacy is the primary concern for 22% of smartphone users when using mobile apps, second only to battery life at 46% -- but more than two times other phone attributes, like brand (9%) or screen size (9%)
  • 63% of mobile users are frequently or always concerned about privacy when banking online, the online activity causing mobile users the greatest concern, followed by shopping online (60%)

Awareness of mobile tracking growing
While consumers are more aware about mobile behavioral advertising than a year ago, awareness is still relatively low, and, regardless of awareness, the majority of those surveyed do not like tracking. Specifically:

  • 31% of smartphone users are not aware that tracking takes place on mobile (compared with 20% being unaware on the desktop)
  • 69% of smartphone users surveyed do not like the idea of being tracked by mobile advertisers on their mobile phones (compared with 52% on the desktop)

Mobile users more willing to share personal data than a year ago
Although 43% of smartphone users surveyed will not share personal information in exchange for free or lower cost mobile apps, smartphone users are showing increased willingness to share personal data in general compared with TRUSTe's 2012 research. Yet, regarding the type of data smartphone users are willing to share, the study found that the vast majority of users will NOT share: contact information (99%); precise location data (89%); or web surfing behavior (88%).

Mobile users still hold themselves most responsible for protecting privacy

  • 76% of those surveyed responded that they are ultimately responsible for protecting their own privacy

Mobile users checking for privacy policies and trustmarks
40% of smartphone users surveyed said they check to make sure whether a mobile app has a privacy policy, and nearly 3 in 10 check to see if the app has a privacy trustmark or seal. Additionally, 39% research apps online and 26% check with friends before sharing personal information.

Full details of TRUSTe's findings can be found here.

Conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of TRUSTe, the interviews were administered between June 12 and June 19, 2013, among 705 U.S. smartphone users, aged 18 and older. The online surveys are not based on probability sample and therefore no estimate or theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About TRUSTe
TRUSTe is the leading global Data Privacy Management (DPM) company and powers trust in the data economy by enabling businesses to safely collect and use customer data across web, mobile, cloud and advertising channels. Our cloud-based Data Privacy Management Platform delivers innovative technology products, including website monitoring and advertising compliance controls -- along with privacy assessments and certifications. More than 5,000 companies worldwide, including Apple, Disney, eBay, Forbes, LinkedIn and Oracle rely on our DPM platform and globally recognized Certified Privacy Seal to protect/enhance their brand, drive user engagement and minimize compliance risk. For more information, please visit

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