EOS survey shows that Germans are surprisingly open to selling data.

What are data like an email address, phone number or general information on purchasing behaviors actually worth? The representative EOS survey “What’s the value of data?” provides some answers. More than one in three Germans is willing to sell their own data. In return, consumers expect companies to handle their information responsibly and offer attractive compensation for it.

Studies
  • Opportunity for companies: Germans surprisingly willing to share data.
  • Compensation required: Discounts, material rewards and product add-ons regarded as the most attractive options.
  • Lack of knowledge: Majority of Germans not aware of the value of personal data.

“Uncertainty about the value of data affects everyone equally, whether you are a consumer or a company,” says Henning Stolze, Head of Data Governance & Data Management, EOS Deutscher Inkasso-Dienst (EOS DID). “Everybody is familiar with the saying ‘data are worth their weight in gold’, but what does that actually mean? For Chinese consumers, apps like Alipay or WeChat which collect and evaluate the data of their users is simply part of their everyday routine. Disclosing information is rewarded with discounts, credits and personalized offers. Although China might be an extreme example, this development is also gaining ground in Germany and other parts of Europe, albeit under quite different legal and social frameworks than in the Far East.

What’s the value of data? Henning Stolze, Head of Data Governance & Data Management, EOS Deutscher Inkasso-Dienst.
Companies need to show what specifically consumers can get in return for making data available. Henning Stolze, Head of Data Governance & Data Management at EOS in Germany

Germans not as reticent as expected.

One surprising aspect of the survey was the willingness of Germans in particular to share data with companies in return for compensation. More than a third (36%) said they were prepared to do this, slightly above the European average of 34 percent. In the USA this applies to 33 percent of consumers.

The percentage of younger Germans that are open to this sends out an even clearer message. Among under 35-year-olds the figure rose to almost half (46 percent). And as many as 22 percent have even already entered into a ‘data for compensation’ deal, a figure that is also higher than the European average (18 percent). The trend cannot be dismissed. Even among over 45-year-olds, 30 percent would be willing to share their data.

Data sharing only under specific conditions.

However, this great willingness to make data available does not mean sharing everything with everyone. The basic prerequisite is the trustworthiness of the company and its adherence to statutory regulations. More than half of Germans (54 percent) are “highly skeptical about disclosing their data to companies” and only 35 percent of them think that “companies handle their data responsibly”.

The type of data collected also influences a consumer’s willingness to part with it. A total of 61 percent of respondents would make information on their personal purchasing decisions and preferences for brands and products available in return for compensation, while 57 would provide general personal details. However, Germans are sensitive about information on their financial status. For 69 percent of Germans, providing insight into their bank account is taboo, closely followed by account and credit card details at 68 percent.

What’s the value of data? Infographic “Data for compensation”
Germans are especially cautious about their fitness data and contact details, but one in six is prepared to reveal data on their purchasing behaviors in return for payment.

What consumers demand in return for their data.

For consumers to pass on their data to companies they need to see distinct benefits for themselves. Exactly half of the respondents want to have discounts for the use of their data, while 47 find material rewards and product add-ons appealing. In addition, 78 percent of Germans would sell at least one item of personal information to a trustworthy company that observes all the necessary data privacy guidelines. But when specifically asked about the price, it is noticeable that half of those willing to sell data do not know how much this data is worth (53 percent). Twenty percent of them would be prepared to sell certain data for 50 euros. Another 10 percent could be persuaded by a figure of between 51 and 100 euros, around 8 percent would only be satisfied with an amount between 101 and 500 euros, and 10 percent would demand 500 euros and more. 

What’s the value of data? Infographic “What compensation do Germans prefer in exchange for their data?”
What would you exchange your data for? Germans clearly prefer discounts and material rewards.

The benefit of data.

For companies, customer data offers a lot of business opportunities. EOS is one of the leading drivers of innovation in receivables management. Technology is the basis for the data analysis that contributes significantly to improving the payment rate. “We evaluate debt collection cases to constantly improve our service with the help of machine learning algorithms,” explains Jakob Spitzer, Head of Analytics & Data Governance at EOS DID: “Especially in Germany, the legal framework provides a very good basis for an appropriate handling of data. We use our authoritative database to determine the most efficient action we should take next in the debt collection process. For us, data is the fuel for analytical decisions and that is what makes it so valuable. The better the data available the better for all parties. Because defaulting payers also benefit from realistic payment plans.”

What’s the value of data? Jakob Spitzer, Head of Analytics & Data Governance at EOS Germany
We use our authoritative database to determine the most efficient action we should take next in the debt collection process. For us, data is the fuel for analytical decisions and that is what makes it so valuable. Jakob Spitzer, Head of Analytics & Data Governance at EOS in Germany

As part of the ’Top 20 Assets’ project, EOS is analyzing how conclusions can be drawn about expected payment receipts based on specific data. What influence do data on employer, bank details, address, email, internet provider, mobile phone number or social status have on the payment rate? “For example, how can the value of data be quantified as specifically as possible on the basis of parameters like risk avoidance or cost reduction? The project aims to determine the actual value of data,” says Stolze. “Companies need to take the step of being more transparent about compensation for data and its benefits. So they also need to show what consumers can specifically get in return for making data available. This allows both sides to benefit.”

About the representative EOS survey

“What’s the value of data?” 2020

The EOS survey “What’s the value of data?”, which was conducted in partnership with market research institute Kantar in the spring of 2020, is representative of the (online) population over the age of 18 in the 17 countries polled. A random sample of 1,000 respondents from each of the countries Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the USA, and 300 respondents from North Macedonia, was used for the analysis. The survey participants answered questions on their personal handling and disclosure of data, their trust in companies, and their willingness to sell data for compensation. 

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Photo credits: EOS / Benne Ochs, Getty Images

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