Celent Says

Consumers Trade Privacy for Enhanced Experience

Mike Fitzgerald
Insurance Experts' Forum, December 26, 2012

There are some very interesting results in the recent Accenture survey: “Accenture Interactive Survey: Shoppers Prefer Personalization Over Privacy”

The online survey asked 2,000 U.K. and U.S. consumers about their preferences across various shopping channels and their use of social media networks as they research and purchase products. (Note: The fact that the results were collected via an online survey introduces a bias toward using technology, but not one that invalidates the results.)

Two statistics stand out: 3 out of 4 shoppers prefer retailers that use personal information to create offers that are individual and 61 percent declare that they will swap privacy for a personalized buying experience.

So, what does research into product retailers have to do with insurance? I argue that we have seen this movie before, during the .com boom in the late 90s. As online retailing began, consumers developed different expectations about how they interacted with companies they did business with. For example, they expected to be able to pay for products and services through ACH or by credit card. But when it came to insurance, do you remember that there once was a debate about consumers’ willingness to pay premiums online? Retailers had offered the function for years, but insurers lagged in adoption. I remember one argument from those in favor of the status quo: “But people want to write a check and send it to their insurance agent.” We see where that argument went.

The point is that consumers are increasingly trading privacy for a personalized shopping experience. Insurers who are investing in the development of skills to collect, analyze and operationalize social data will be positioned favorably compared to their competitors. These insurers will be able to respond to consumers as they expect their insurance purchase to be as easy as their other buying experiences.

This blog has been reprinted with permission from Celent.

Mike Fitzgerald is a senior analyst in Celent's insurance practice, and can be reached at mfitzgerald@celent.com.

Readers are encouraged to respond to Mike using the “Add Your Comments” box below.

The opinions posted in this blog do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News or SourceMedia.

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