Millennials Are Accepting More Lax Privacy Policies in Exchange for Rewards

Posted by: Jeff Fromm

Online privacy policies always seem to be a bunch of gibberish. Who actually reads the privacy policy anymore? When given the option to either read pages of legal language or simply click “I agree,” don’t the majority of us choose to move on rather than taking the time to read the fine print? Millennials sure do.

Findings from a new survey from University of Southern California’s Center for the Digital Future and Bovitz Inc. show that Millennials are more likely than any other generation to share their personal information online. However, Millennials are not giving their information away for free.  The survey found that Millennials are trading their personal data to companies in exchange for concrete benefits. When Millennials were asked if they would share their location with companies in order to receive coupons from nearby businesses, 56 percent said they would.

Millennials realize that sharing information with companies is mutually beneficial. They have an intrinsic understanding that the more information a company has about who they are, the more relevant and rewarding the benefits will be. These insights allow companies to better understand their markets and build stronger customer loyalty within the Millennial generation.

This two-way relationship between online marketers and Millennials is fueling what has already become a participation-economy. According to the Center For Digital Future’s article, Is Online Privacy Over, “[Millennials] perceive social media as an exchange or an economy of ideas, where sharing involves participating in smart ways,” said Elaine B. Coleman, managing director of media and emerging technologies for Bovitz.

Millennials are the first generation to have grown up completely surrounded by mobile technology and social media. They are a generation that lives in the moment and values brand engagement through online participation. Millennials are constantly engaging in social media and are visiting online networking sites multiple times a day.

In a generation where the number of “friends” a person has is in the high hundreds, Millennials value their online connections and take pride in a strong social media presence. However, Millennials are not ready to relinquish all of their privacy rights just yet. In response to the statement “No one should ever have access to my personal data or web behavior,” 70 percent of Millennials agreed.

This new era of information sharing is just getting started. As Millennials are gaining a greater share of the market, they are setting the trends as to what is considered appropriate online behavior. As they continue to interact with companies online in an exchange of information for benefits and incentives, the rest of the population may soon follow suit.

Leah Swartz contributed to this post.

Photo Credit: Spodzone via Flickr

About Jeff Fromm

Although not a Millennial as defined by his age, Jeff Fromm is the Millennial Marketing Guy. Jeff is President of FutureCast, a marketing consultancy that specializes in Millennial trends, and is a contributing writer at...See Jeff's full bio.