The second wave of Kantar TNS’ GDPR Awareness Index shows that public awareness of GDPR remains low, unchanged from last month at 34%. Understanding of what is covered by the new regulation also remains poor.  

When asked which sectors they would be prepared to give permission to for use of their personal data, people were most likely to say banks and public sector services. However, 42% said they wouldn’t give permission to any of a range of sectors listed (also including general retail, telecoms, travel, transport services and media / new outlets) to use their personal data. There is a sharp difference between younger (27% for 16-24 year olds) and older (56% for 65+ years) members of the public.

E-mail is clearly the preferred channel for companies to seek permission to use personal data under the GDPR regulations at 55%, followed by post at 30%.  

Over the past 12 months Kantar TNS has also reviewed the conversation about GDPR through social media channels, blogs and online forums as well as looking at search activity. The volume of conversations specifically referencing GDPR is relatively small, although there has been an upward trend.  The conversation about GDPR is very much a professional rather than a public conversation, with the dialogue happening between GDPR experts providing content and services and organisations looking for advice about GDPR compliance.

Whilst a lot of the online conversation about GDPR is about preparation and support needs, the biggest topic of conversation is trust and it is clear that many organisations see GDPR as an opportunity to build trust with customers. The nature of the conversation regarding trust differs depending on role and sector. For example, those in marketing services are more focussed on transparency, whereas in financial services the conversation is more concerned with data security.

Phil Sutcliffe, head of offer and innovation at Kantar TNS UK, comments, “It is reassuring to see that the online conversation that business is engaged in with regard to GDPR is mostly focussed on the opportunity to build trust. However, there remains a huge gap between the opportunity and reality. Our survey shows us that business is not yet cutting through in creating awareness of GDPR with the public, yet alone using it to build consumer trust. Action needs to be taken soon to prevent the very significant proportion of consumers who say they wouldn’t give permission for use of their personal data from acting on that intention once GDPR comes into force.”


These findings are based on the responses of a demographically representative group of 1,242 adults (aged 16+) in Great Britain, who were asked about their attitudes to and knowledge of personal data usage and regulation.  The research was conducted between 6-7 February 2018 by Kantar TNS Omnibus. 

The social media and search analysis covered 12 months of conversations and searches over 2017.

For all publicly-quoted data, users of our research (including media) must ensure that data is sourced to ‘Kantar TNS UK’.

The data tables are available here.


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