The findings of Kantar TNS’ latest Connected Life research revealed that optimism around connectivity is still high in India. Connected consumers in India are far more trusting than other countries in the region when it comes to their online activities, according to the study. In comparison to the rest of the world, they are more open to sharing their personal data if it improves their online experience.
Only 29 per cent of Indian consumers have concerns about the amount of personal data brands have on them, compared to 40 per cent globally and rising to as high as 56 per cent in Australia.
Brands need to use this information responsibly or risk the rise of doubt and cynicism, noted Kantar TNS in its statement.
Kantar TNS surveyed 70,000 people across 56 countries and conducted 104 in-depth interviews as part of the 2017 Connected Life study. The research explored consumer trust in brands in relation to four themes - technology, content, data, and e-commerce.
Only 27 per cent are adverse to connected devices monitoring their activities online if it makes their lives easier, compared to 56 per cent of consumers in Korea and 62 per cent in New Zealand. For the most part, consumers in India have not yet realised the trade-offs intrinsic to a connected lifestyle that have caused other countries to become more cynical about the way companies are using the personal information.
However, despite this open attitude, Indians are not as trusting of global brands as other countries in APAC, with 38 per cent trusting big global brands in comparison to 54 per cent in both Vietnam and Myanmar, and 47 per cent in Indonesia. Consumer trust falls significantly in developed markets like Australia and New Zealand, where just 19 per cent and 21 per cent respectively, trust big global brands. The trust on social media platforms is high with 39 per cent of connected consumers in India say that the content they see on social media channels is reliable, compared to 32 per cent globally.
Anusheel Shrivastava, Executive Vice President, Kantar TNS India, said, “The desire to connect via social media has been the driving force behind a substantial part of the digital revolution in India, and as a result, engagement and trust on social platforms continues to be high. The majority of Indians are not particularly concerned about their digital privacy yet, however this is not to say that they won’t follow the trend of more developed countries where people are now far more skeptical of how their personal data is being used. Brands need to act responsibly online to maintain the trust that they currently hold.”
The mobile-first environment of India has also resulted in connected consumers who are willing to try newer forms of interaction with brands – 36 per cent of consumers are happy to interact with chatbots online. The sheer size of the country means that offline customer service is sometime hard to access, so advances in online customer service are a welcome development.
The study also revealed that a third (33 per cent) of Indians said that they are willing to pay for products using their mobile phone. With a high population of unbanked consumers, cash is clearly still king in India, however the results show that there is a growing interest in these solutions, providing innovative payment options can demonstrate their value to consumers.
Michael Nicholas, Global Lead of Connected Solutions, Kantar TNS, concluded, “Trust is fragile. Brands in emerging countries see higher levels of consumer trust today than those in developed ones but they shouldn’t take it for granted. To build and protect trust, brands need to put the customer first. That means understanding their motivations, understanding the right moments to engage with them, respecting their time as valuable, and being more transparent about how and when they collect and use their personal data. Above all, that means putting the customer first – something that many marketers have forgotten to do.”