UAE consumers willing to share data with retailers despite cybercrime threats

Trend bucks global average of KPMG report where about half of consumers express anxiety about identity theft

epa07261864 ILLUSTRATION - A person sits in front of a computer screen in Moers, Germany, 04 January 2019. Reports on 04 January 2019 state personal data of hundreds of German politicians, celebrities and journalists have been hacked and posted online. The compromised data reportedly includes credit card details, private chat protocols and contact information. The data was allegedly shared via a Twitter account under the name G0d (@_0rbit) prior to Christmas 2018, which has been suspended in the meantime.  EPA/SASCHA STEINBACH
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The UAE consumers, who lost $1.1 billion (Dh4.04bn) in cybercrimes including data thefts in 2017, are more comfortable in sharing their personal details with companies than the global average, says a new report.

Despite recent global data breaches, 78 per cent of UAE consumers have no qualms sharing their data with retailers and other institutions. However, more than 50 per cent of global consumers expressed anxiety about identity theft, including hacking of financial, medical or other personal information, according to the report by professional services firm KPMG.

"We have observed that the UAE organisations have gained trust of consumers over a period of time… the government is the most trusted and provides the best experience," Willy Kruh, global chair, consumer and retail at KPMG, told The National on Wednesday

UAE consumers are more likely to share their data if they expect good value out of the deal, he said.

About 22 per cent of the UAE residents polled by KPMG said they were not in favour of revealing their personal data with any organisation at all.


Dubai witnessed one of the biggest data breaches of the decade in the first half of 2018, when ride-hailing firm Careem admitted the theft of personal data of up to 14 million of its customers. The average cost of data breach in Gulf region’s two biggest economies – the UAE and Saudi Arabia – was $5.31 million in the first half of 2018, a 7.1 per cent year-on-year increase, according to a study conducted by tech giant IBM Security and Michigan-based Ponemon Institute that was released in July last year.

“UAE is no exception. It is also equally concerned about thwarting data breach attempts,” Mr Kruh said. Banking sector, he noted, was below average in consumers’ confidence in 2008 but today more than half of UAE population trust financial institutions.

The study found that consumers are more likely to trust companies with the data that is directly relevant to the service they are providing.

In the UAE, sectors that enjoyed the highest level of trust among consumers are healthcare (63 per cent), banking (52 per cent), retail (51 per cent) and technology (38 per cent), while the least trusted is advertising (15 per cent).

Over 2500 UAE consumers were polled to establish the survey findings. Internally, 22,250 respondents were surveyed in Brazil, Canada, China, France, India, UK and US for the global perspective.


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The KPMG report also revealed excessive reliance of UAE consumers on technology and their growing desire to stay connected, with 67 per cent respondents said that they see value in harnessing the power of technology.

“Almost half of UAE consumers are impressed with how much a smartphone could help them manage their daily schedules,” said Farhan Syed, partner, digital and innovation at KPMG Lower Gulf.

Almost 97 per cent of respondents from the UAE receive their news online and 93 per cent on social media.

“This level of enthusiasm for digital world innovation was beaten only by the smartphone-crazy consumers of China and India that are home to huge populations,” he added.