Data breach impacts: US and UK consumers react differently

Published: Wednesday, 27 February 2019 09:28

The consequences of a data breach have a greater impact in the United Kingdom versus the United States, according to a survey into consumer trust and spending habits conducted by payment security specialists, PCI Pal.

The survey found that 41 percent of British consumers said they will stop spending with a business or brand forever, compared to just 21 percent of US consumers, following a data security breach. 

62 percent of American consumers would instead stop spending for several months following a security breach or hack, with 44 percent of British consumers agreeing the same. 

Looking at trust in businesses and brands, 55 percent of UK respondents felt they could trust a local store with their data more than a national company. They felt a local store was more likely to care about their reputation (30 percent) and hackers were less likely to target a local store as it is smaller (25 percent) while only 22 percent felt a national company would be more secure as they follow more security protocols.

In stark contrast, the reverse was true in the US with only 47 percent of respondents feeling they could trust a local company more than a national chain. In fact, 28 percent felt a national company would be more secure as they follow more security protocols, while 25 percent felt they have more money to invest in security protocols. 

Almost a third (31 percent) of UK consumers stated that they would spend less with brands they perceive to have insecure data practices, compared to just 18 percent of US survey respondents.

A psychotherapist’s view

With a clinical and consulting practice in New York City, PCI Pal invited psychotherapist Dr Ellyn Gamberg to review the survey findings. In summary, Dr Gamberg identified:

Dr Gamberg said: “The research indicates differences in measurable responses between consumers in the UK versus America, such as spending habits, customer and brand loyalty; and concern over providing personal data. However, all these behaviours are results of unconscious and conscious thoughts and feelings and cannot be accurately measured by self-report. The expression and internalisation of these responses is highly personal and cultural. As a result, it is critical that this be considered in order to effectively mitigate past damage, and future efforts, to create trust.

“In addition to addressing the technical aspects of security, organisations must address what needs to be done to increase the emotional security of their customers. Ultimately, becoming proactive in setting the stage for more favourable, short-term, and long-term behavioural change will result in more loyal customers, and increased spending.”