Anxious Consumers Feeling Exposed Online and Willing to Undergo ‘Digital Detox’

  • Deep concerns about sharing information online revealed
  • Digital Britain seeking digital detox, especially overwhelmed
  • Financial institutions most trusted, technology companies least,
    with personal information
  • Companies encouraged to prioritise cybersecurity and educate

LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Consumers are fearful about their online security, with more than a
third (37 percent) willing to take themselves “off the grid” to protect
their privacy.
This is the top line finding of Britain’s
Digital DNA,
a new report featuring a UK-wide survey of over
1,500 consumers by global management consultancy, Oliver Wyman.

The report, conducted to explore the public’s digital behaviour
and attitudes to technology, reveals that nearly half (45 percent) of
British adults are worried about sharing their personal information
online. However, nearly one third (32 percent) feel obliged or have to
do so in order to navigate modern life, with over half (54 percent)
saying that they couldn’t live without the internet for more than a
and 12 percent for more than an hour.

Overwhelmed millennials claim they are most in need of a digital
detox, with nearly a third (31 percent) of 18–34 year olds actively
seeking out opportunities to go offline, compared to only 20 percent of
those aged 35–54 and 14 percent of those aged 55-74.

The report comes just ten days after the Investigatory Powers Act was
passed into law, widening the Government’s digital surveillance powers.
The passing of the new law, dubbed by its critics as the ‘Snoopers’
Charter,’ is likely to further increase consumer fears about privacy

Chris McMillan, Partner, Oliver Wyman Labs – the data and technology
arm of the business, said:

“It appears our digital addiction runs deep, but with this comes anxiety
about privacy – so much so that Brits, especially overwhelmed
millennials, are willing to undergo a ‘digital detox’; avoiding emails
and texts. The recent passing of the Investigatory Powers Act, as well
as news about new data breaches will only bring this worry into greater
focus. Businesses need to do more to protect private data, and educate
consumers on what the data they collect is being used for.”

Financial institutions top the survey as the most trusted companies with
our personal information, with technology companies being the least

The most trusted companies with personal information are:

  • Financial institutions (only 11 percent don’t trust them)
  • Healthcare providers or insurers (13 percent don’t trust them)
  • Car or home insurers (17 percent don’t trust them)

The least trusted companies with personal information are:

  • Technology companies – e.g. e-commerce sites and search engines (37
    percent don’t trust them)
  • Supermarkets or grocers (31 percent don’t trust them)
  • Mobile phone operators (27 percent don’t trust them)

McMillan continues, “For consumers to embrace our digital future without
fear and anxiety, companies across all sectors need to prioritise cyber
security. They also need to act fast when there are breaches. Financial
institutions are the most trusted in our survey because they put a lot
of investment into educating consumers about the security measures they
take to protect them, assuaging the worry many of us feel when handing
over our personal information.”

Other public concerns over digital and technology revealed by the survey

Social isolation

The survey revealed that men between aged between 25 and 34 are missing
out most human contact
, with 43 percent of male respondents in that
age bracket admitting that social media prevents them from seeing their
friends as much as they would like. This is compared to 32 percent of
women in the same age group and an average of 22 percent across all age

Feeling left behind by technology

Nearly a third (31 percent) of the UK admitted that they can’t keep
up with new technology
. The feeling of being ‘left behind’ by new
developments appears to be as acute for under 24s as it is for those in
middle age. The survey revealed that 29 percent of 18-24 year olds feel
out of touch with the latest technology, the same number as those aged
between 55 and 64.

About Oliver Wyman

Oliver Wyman is a global leader in management consulting. With offices
in 50+ cities across 26 countries, Oliver Wyman combines deep industry
knowledge with specialized expertise in strategy, operations, risk
management, and organization transformation. The firm’s 4,000
professionals help clients optimize their business, improve their
operations and risk profile, and accelerate their organizational
performance to seize the most attractive opportunities. Oliver Wyman is
a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies [NYSE:MMC]. For
more information, visit Follow
Oliver Wyman on Twitter @OliverWyman.

About the research:

A survey of 1,560 consumers in the United Kingdom was carried out by
Innofact in October 2016, on behalf of global management consultancy
Oliver Wyman.


For Oliver Wyman:
Lucy Chapple, 0203 696 5800
Daly, 0203 696 5800