Americans Willing To Pay More For Privacy On Social Media And Smartphones, Researcher Finds

Ajit Ghuman said Americans generally would pay more for full privacy — including on smartphone purchases.

Americans Willing To Pay More For Privacy On Social Media And Smartphones, Researcher Finds
Ajit Ghuman with Broadband Breakfast reporter Derek Shumway

May 13, 2021 – A study by a marketing expert found Americans are willing to pay more for full data privacy on social media and their smartphones, which he said could pave the way for a new class of companies that could fulfil those privacy needs.

In an interview with Broadband Breakfast, Ajit Ghuman, who runs marketing at customer engagement platform Narvar, sat down to discuss why Americans are willing to pay extra for privacy when it comes to their smartphone uses, and why men are particularly willing to pay more than double than women for full privacy on social media.

The definition of full privacy in this study means customer data cannot be sold to advertisers and is not kept by the company.

Ghuman was curious to know if people were willing to pay for privacy, and if so, how much they would pay. This led him to personally research the issue outside of his professional work and he has since compiled his findings in a book he wrote.

Ghuman reported in the book that “when it comes to social media services, men said they are willing to pay $10 per month on average for full privacy, whereas women indicated they are only willing to pay $4 per month.”

Women willing to pay more than men on smartphone privacy

When it comes to smartphone use, however, women were more willing than males to pay for full phone privacy at $33 vs $15.

Though the study focuses on what people are willing to pay rather than the reasons behind their willingness to pay, Ghuman hypothesized one reason could be due to the level of “ID” exposure in one’s job. Men are probably exposed to more ID jobs, which are jobs that require lots of identifying information and data about the worker.

When faced with a decision on buying a smartphone, “Americans indicated they are willing to pay $30 on average on top of an averagely priced smartphone ($580) for full privacy.” Though complete details explaining what one might view as “full privacy” is not discussed, Ghuman noted that because privacy these days comes with a lot of conditions, “we really don’t know to what extent data is private.”

Ghuman found that “Americans over the age of 25 are willing to pay more for privacy than those that are younger.” One possible explanation for this is because people want to hold on to their jobs.

“The most privacy conscious consumers (measured by willingness to pay) live in the Northeast of the U.S. while the least privacy conscious by a large margin live in the Midwest,” Ghuman found.

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