Canadians are increasingly comfortable sharing data

Mar 15, 2022

40 per cent have increased their online activity since the start of the pandemic

New global data privacy report is based on consumer research in 16 countries, representing more than half the world’s population 

New research launched today by the Global Data & Marketing Alliance (GDMA), Canadian Marketing Association (CMA) and Acxiom reveals that the vast majority of global consumers (82 per cent) are prepared to engage with the data economy. Consumers are increasingly comfortable with data sharing, especially if there is a clear benefit in doing so.

“Given the diversity of cultures, economic development and digital maturity of these markets, this report is remarkable for the consistency of its findings across the 16 countries. Critically, consumers understand the part data has to play in the data value exchange," said Martin Nitsche, Chair of GDMA & President of DDV (German Data Marketing Association).

Trust in an organization remains the most important factor driving consumers’ willingness to share personal information with a company. Across the 16 countries surveyed, 38 per cent of consumers rank ‘trust in an organization’ in the top three factors that make them happy to share data with an organization. In Canada, trust is the number one factor, followed by receiving free services and products in exchange.

Almost half of global consumers (46 per cent in 10 countries that were previously surveyed, 48 per cent in Canada) feel more comfortable with the notion of data exchange with businesses – a significant increase over 40 per cent who felt comfortable in 2018. In addition, 48 per cent of consumers across the 10 countries stated data exchange is essential for the running of modern society – rising significantly from the 41 per cent who held this view in 2018. Canadians mirror this large increase, with 41 per cent agreeing with the statement today, compared to 35 per cent in 2018.  

“This growing comfort with data exchange is likely due to the significant increase in online activities over the past two years,” said John Wiltshire, President and CEO, CMA. “Canadians are recognizing the benefits of online services, with more than 40 per cent saying their online activity has increased since the start of the pandemic.”

Another interesting trend observed over the last four years is the rise of the ‘Data Unconcerned’ group -- people who show little or no concern about their data privacy. Nearly one third (31 per cent of the population across the 10 global markets) now fall into this category – up from 26 per cent in 2018. The same period saw a decline in ‘Data Fundamentalists’ (individuals who are unwilling to share personal information) from 23 per cent in 2018 to 21 per cent today.

The largest percentage of consumers (47 per cent) surveyed remain ‘Data Pragmatists’, who are happy to exchange data with businesses so long as there is a clear benefit for doing so.

“While some media reports would have us believe people are more worried than ever before, the reality is more people are getting familiar with data and technology and in return concern is falling. Not to say we can relax. Indeed, to the contrary, we need more engaged and pragmatic minds around data,” said Jed Mole, CMO of IPG agencies Acxiom, Kinesso, and Matterkind. “So, while people have less concern than before when it comes to data matters, it matters greatly that we collectively work to understand how people think, so that we may help them have a balanced view of this amazing digital age and how it works for people. This research helps make that possible.”

The 2022 report Global Data Privacy: What the Consumer Really Thinks is based on a survey of consumers in 16 countries representing more than half the world’s population. Commissioned by the Global Data & Marketing Alliance (GDMA) in partnership with Acxiom. The Canadian Marketing Association is a member of the GDMA and the Canadian partner on the research.

The first edition of this report was published in 2018 and studies the views of consumers in 10 countries:  Argentina, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, the UK and the USA. In 2022, the research was expanded to 16 countries with the inclusion of Belgium, Brazil, China, India, Japan and Mexico.

About the Global Data and Marketing Alliance (GDMA)

GDMA is an organisation that represents, supports and unites 28 marketing associations from around the globe that focus on data-driven marketing. It promotes worldwide initiatives aimed at providing marketers with global trend information, thought leadership and know-how on data-driven marketing across all sectors, disciplines and channels. Collectively, they represent a significant proportion of the world’s major brands, corporations, suppliers and agencies. Through its members’ associations, GDMA provides access to the world’s largest network of data-driven marketing organisations and influencers.

About Acxiom

Acxiom is a customer intelligence company that provides data-driven solutions to enable the world’s best marketers to better understand their customers to create better experiences and business growth. A leader in customer data management, identity, and the ethical use of data for more than 50 years, Acxiom now helps thousands of clients and partners around the globe work together to create millions of better customer experiences, every day. Acxiom is a registered trademark of Acxiom LLC and is part of The Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc. (IPG). For more information, visit

About the Canadian Marketing Association

The CMA’s purpose is to embolden Canadian marketers to make a powerful impact on business in Canada. We provide opportunities for our members from coast to coast to develop professionally, to contribute to marketing thought leadership, to build strong networks, and to strengthen the regulatory climate for business success. Our Chartered Marketer (CM) designation signifies that recipients are highly qualified and up to date with best practices, as reflected in the Canadian Marketing Code of Ethics and Standards. We represent virtually all of Canada's major business sectors, and all marketing disciplines, channels and technologies. Our Consumer Centre helps Canadians better understand their rights and obligations.


In December 2021, Foresight Factory conducted, on behalf of Acxiom and the GDMA, an online survey of a minimum 1,000* sample of respondents aged 18+** across 16 global markets exploring public attitudes towards privacy and data exchange. The markets included in the survey are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, the UK and the USA. In total, 20,626 respondents were surveyed across the 16 markets. For this research, Foresight Factory set interlocking nationally representative quotas on age, gender and region per country. This ensured the sample was representative of the population. Weighting was also applied to further ensure a nationally representative sample. The analysis of the data and the segmentation of findings were conducted in-house by Foresight Factory’s quantitative analysis team.

*2000 respondents in the UK, the USA, China and India 
**18-64 in Singapore

For further information: Nathaniel Glassman, Kaiser & Partners Inc.,, 416-998-2258




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