Delon Wang
Delon is Trends Manager, Asia Pacific at Mintel. He oversees Trends content and Trends client servicing for the region.

Only the future will tell what’s next for consumer data and how each and every consumer action is captured and transmitted into smarter, more convenient ways to live and purchase. At Mintel’s most recent ‘Top Trends in Asia Pacific’ webinar, we delved deep into this topic, discussing the implications this will have on consumers in Asia and the world over.

Data collection can help users create seamless experiences. With constant connectivity, consumers can make payments, increase efficiency, as well as monitor their own habits—sometimes finding out about certain behaviours that they aren’t aware of. In fact, latest research from Mintel shows that a third of metro Indonesians would consider trading their personal data in exchange for custom offers.

However, this also creates some social and health issues as a result of a reliance on and over-usage of devices. As well, criminal activities such as hacking, personal data leak or identity fraud are on a rise of late. According to the Internet Society of China, four in five Chinese internet users were affected by data leaks in 2017. As more users engage in data creation and online tracking, criminal acts will also naturally grow. These in turn, will become potential impediments of the usage of consumer data.

In light of this, companies are taking measures to help counter the negative effects—at least somewhat—of data collection. In China, to prevent theft and criminal abuse of its accounts, online food delivery system Ele.me uses a facial recognition technology to verify the identities of its delivery teams. Meanwhile, Facebook published its ‘Privacy Principles’ across the globe as part of a wider educational campaign t/o help users understand how their data is used.

What lies ahead

As consumers overcome the fear of the unknown, penetration rates of data-centred services will see a sharp climb in the years to come. The need for transparency will see an increase in demand and, as more data is collected and generated, brands will need to help consumers learn and understand how they will stand to benefit from effective data usage.

New safety and preventative measures such as the use of blockchain technology will continue to be adopted by companies to increase consumer confidence, particularly those whose business models are centred on data mining. We can also expect to see a rise in awareness and the springing up of education and watchdog organisations as a result of this growth.

A counter trend that might emerge from this is that human experiences may become more valued in the future as constant connectivity may lead to consumers wanting to slow things down. However, Mintel also sees this as an opportunity for human services and data collection to combine with the aim of creating more comfortable and memorable experiences for consumers. For instance, shopping experiences can be made more seamless and comfortable when a retail employee, equipped with personal data on a consumer’s spending and purchase patterns, is able to give recommendations on what to buy.