Data as Currency: Consumer Vs. Marketer Insights into the Value of Private Data

Xu, Chao
Kapitan, Sommer
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Master of Business
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Auckland University of Technology

Data is one of the most powerful resources in the digital world. Marketers and businesses such as mobile application platforms could not provide their services without utilizing the consumer, geographic, and usage data they collect. On the other hand, consumers seem unwilling to give up using digital service through their smart phones or to trade-off the convenience gained when they agree to share their data with service providers. O’Brien (2010) mentions that both utilitarian motivations and hedonic motivations drive consumers to share their private data via platforms. If a user wants to gain service from platforms she/he should accept the privacy condition and terms. Although consumers worry about their private data exposure, they do not have much choices to accept privacy policy and protect their private data at the same time (Walker, 2016). Thus smart phone users are becoming the leading consumers in digital consumption. For instance, the rise of e-payment is extremely convenient for everyone to pay bills without a wallet (Poon, 2007). Although people experience a different extent of psychological pain of payment through a variety of payment methods, the least pain of payment might be from online payment (Yeung, 2014). This thesis will focus on consumer versus marketer insights into the value of private data. Consumers’ views of their own private data are hypothesized to influence their attitudes on money and might affect their willingness to purchase tangible (vs. intangible) products and services. Do consumers view their private data as a form of currency that grants them access to desired goods and services? Understanding this question is the reason the researcher is going to identify consumers’ data consumption behaviour and explore their view of data as currency. The researcher conducted a field study over 4 days to identify whether consumers are willing to use cash or data as currency to purchase tangible goods. In total, 147 participants purchased 8G flash drives and completed questionnaires. As a result, the main effect is that 127 participants (86.4 %) were willing to purchase the tangible good when data was used as currency to but only 20 (13.6 %) participants chose to purchase when cash was the currency. This finding indicates that consumers, at least of the university generation, have already well-accepted data as currency. Implications and limitations are also discussed.

Data , Currency , Private data , Consumer insight
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