x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Banks lead UAE for consumer trust with personal data

Banks are the most trusted holders of private data in the Emirates, while supermarkets are the least.

Banks are the most trusted holders of private data in the Emirates, while supermarkets are the least.

Aimia, a global loyalty management company, which part owns the Air Miles programme, surveyed almost 1,000 people in the UAE to find out which industries they trusted with their data.

Banking came out on top, with almost 74 per cent of respondents saying they had faith in their bank to use their data in a "responsible way".

More than 48 per cent trusted the Government, while telecoms providers, loyalty card companies and airlines scored similarly at 22 to 23 per cent.

But only a little over 3 per cent of people said they trusted supermarkets.

"Retailing is far more trusted in Europe than it is in the region," said Mark Mortimer-Davies, the Air Miles Middle East chief executive.

A number of supermarkets operating locally, such as Abela and Carrefour, have loyalty programmes, but European chains such as Sainsbury's or Tesco have been around for longer.

"I think people in Europe are more used to having retailers speak to them with their own data," said Mr Mortimer-Davies.

Banks have traditionally been considered a safe sector, despite recent issues.

"We have grown up with that knowledge that a bank is safe. The bank holds my money," he said.

Perhaps more surprising, said Mr Mortimer-Davies, was the telecoms sector's poor showing. "Some of the telecoms products in the region are world-class [such as] Etisalat's More Programme.

"The telecoms score is just not what I thought it would have been," he said.

Part of the reason for that may lie in the fact that users associate telecoms providers with spam messages.

Mr Mortimer-Davies said the survey shows that most consumers are not concerned about the amount of data companies hold.

"But overall consumers do not currently feel rewarded for sharing data with many companies, but loyalty companies are better placed than most to change this," he added.

The survey also found that 52 per cent of UAE respondents were happy for organisations to use their data to personalise offers.

But only 13 per cent would be keen to offer up more detailed information.

The majority of those surveyed, 77 per cent, said they would be happier buying from international companies, compared to about two-thirds, who favoured regional brands.

gduncan@thenational.ae