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Data Privacy Statistics

25 Data Privacy Statistics: Facts, Figures and Trends in 2024

With artificial intelligence disrupting the digital privacy landscape and many companies still seeking to profit from your personal information, it’s more important than ever to stay updated on the latest data privacy statistics.

Samuel OkoruwaSamuel ChapmanIgor Kurtz

Written by Samuel Okoruwa (Writer)

Reviewed by Samuel Chapman (Writer, Editor)

Facts checked by Igor Kurtz (Fact-checking editor)

Last Updated: 2024-04-15T09:04:10+00:00

All our content is written fully by humans; we do not publish AI writing. Learn more here.

Key Takeaways: Top Data Privacy Statistics
  • Companies that put money into data privacy saw their investments pay off by an average of 160%.
  • Only 51% of companies said they would increase data privacy investments in response to system breaches.
  • If their data were exposed in a breach, 56% of Americans wouldn’t know the steps to take.
  • More than 70% of Americans want the government to step in and regulate data privacy more than it already does.
  • As many as 70% of Americans do not believe that AI companies will use their data responsibly.

Facts & Expert Analysis:

  • Healthcare industry the most trusted: According to a 2020 McKinsey & Company report, 44% of Americans find the healthcare space the most trustworthy industry to share data with, while another 44% name the financial industry. 9
  • Most Americans consider emails confidential: McKinsey also reveals that 68% of Americans think it’s “very important” for the content of their emails to only remain accessible to authorized viewers, while 62% say that email contacts’ identities should remain private. 9
  • Privacy boycotts:The McKinsey survey further reveals that 71% of Americans say they will cease to conduct business with companies that divulge sensitive data without permission.9

Advancements in generative AI have raised significant privacy concerns. Tools like ChatGPT can collect vast amounts of data and provide advanced surveillance capabilities, and they are highly susceptible to data breaches. Read our data privacy statistics to gain insight on this rapidly developing landscape.

Our statistics cover a wide range of topics, including business-related data privacy information, cybercrime and consumer trust. Consider these statistics whenever you have to make a decision about online privacy management. When you’re ready to choose a secure software solution, start with our best online backup services and best password manager reviews.

  • 04/12/2024 Facts checked

    Article rewritten to include the latest statistics on data privacy. 

The data privacy trends below are quickly changing and relevant to everybody. 

  1. As many as 95% of organizations saw more benefits than costs from investing in data privacy, with the investment paying off at a 1.6x average return.1
  2. Only 51% of organizations state that they plan to intensify security investments, despite the increasing average cost of data breaches.2
  3. The average total cost of data breaches reached an all-time high in 2023, at $4.45 million.2
  4. More than half of Americans wouldn’t be sure how to respond in the event that their data were exposed in a breach.3
  5. More than 70% of Americans say the government should enforce more regulation on how companies handle customer data. Only 7% think regulation should be reduced.4
  6. In 2023, about 67% of Americans said they have little to no knowledge of how companies handle their personal data, up from 59% in 2019.4
  7. Almost 90% of Americans are uncomfortable with the idea of social media companies having access to children’s personal information.4
  8. About 26% of Americans say that someone made unauthorized transactions with their debit or credit card in 2023.4

Businesses emphasize data privacy to comply with regulations, establish trust with customers and protect their reputation. The following statistics provide a clear picture of the benefits businesses enjoy when they invest in data privacy, and indicate areas for improvement. 

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1. Data Privacy Investments Yield More Benefits Than Costs for Many Businesses

According to Cisco’s 2024 data privacy benchmark study, 95% of organizations saw more benefits than costs from investing in data privacy, with privacy investments paying off by a factor of 1.6. Data privacy investments prevent costly incidents while bringing in additional revenue through increased customer loyalty.1

2. Data Privacy Investments Now Yield Higher Financial Benefits Than Four Years Prior

A series of studies that Cisco conducted over the span of four years (2019-2023) showed that the estimated financial benefits resulting from data privacy investments was higher ($2.9 million) in 2023 than in 2019. However, the 2023 figure is lower than 2022’s peak of $3.4 million. Reductions were recorded in big companies and small firms. 

According to Cisco, there’s no clear indication of why this happened. Possible factors include other positive financial outcomes such as higher privacy benefits than costs, considerable financial returns from investing in data privacy and return on investment (ROI).1

Estimated ROI Ranges on Data Privacy Investments

3. Businesses Continue to See Value in Privacy Economics

Data privacy proved advantageous for organizations around the world in 2023. About 96% of businesses stated that privacy investment is imperative for business success, rather than just a compliance obligation.1

4. Businesses and Customers Have Different Priorities in Regards to Data Privacy

One challenge that impedes trust between businesses and customers in regards to data privacy is the difference in their priorities. Organizations prioritize data compliance (25%) and preventing data breaches (23%), whereas consumers emphasize transparent information on data usage (37%) and ensuring that companies don’t sell their data for marketing purposes (24%).1 

5. Just Half of Organizations Would Invest More in Security After a Data Breach

Only 51% of organizations state that they would intensify security investments in response to a data breach despite the increasing cost of data breaches. The areas that organizations typically consider for additional investments include incident response, employee training, planning and testing, and threat detection and response technologies.2

Statistics on Cybercrime and Data Privacy

PWC’s 2024 Global Data Trust Insights reveals that data breaches of more than $1 million affected a significantly greater share of businesses between 2023 and 2024 — from 27% to 36%.10 According to Truesec, automation is one of the major contributing factors to the increase in cyberattacks.

AI-powered chatbots specially designed for cybercrime are projected to significantly increase the rate of phishing attacks. For example, FraudGPT is a ChatGPT-style tool designed to trick users into revealing personal information, performing harmful actions and falling victim to malware.11 Here are some of the most important cybercrime statistics to keep in mind. 

6. The Average Total Cost of a Data Breach is Higher Than Ever Before 

The average total cost of a data breach reached an all-time high in 2023 at $4.45 million. This is a 2.3% increase from the 2022 cost of $4.35 million and a 15.3% increase from the $3.86 million figure in the 2020 report.2

7. Phishing Is One of the Most Prevalent Cybercrimes

Phishing is the act of posing as a legitimate business or individual to obtain sensitive information from unsuspecting targets via email or a website. In 2022, phishing was the most common cybercrime, with a total of 300,497 reported phishing victims.8

The prevalence of phishing attacks may be due to the ease and low cost associated with launching them. Using one of our recommendations for the best antivirus software can help you catch malware-associated sites before they can damage your computer.

Types of Cybercrime by Number of Victims (thousands)

8. More Than 50% of Americans Are Not Prepared to Take Action After Falling Victim to a Data Breach 

A Varonis survey showed that more than half of Americans (56%) aren’t sure how to respond in the event that their credentials are compromised in a business data breach. To minimize the damage and prevent further loss after a data breach, here are some steps you can take:3

  • Change the passwords to all your online accounts.
  • Inform your financial institutions.
  • Monitor your bank accounts. 

To learn more about what you can do in the event of a cybercrime, read our cybercrime guide. For everyday security, your best option is to use one of the best VPNs to ward off hackers.

9. In 2022, People Aged 30 to 39 Experienced the Highest Rate of Cybercrime

The online cybercrime rate among the 30-39-year-old age group saw its highest annual increase, with 94,500 victims in 2022. This was the first year since 2015 that this group faced the highest cybercrime rate. A spike in crypto investment scams may have been a major factor contributing to the 30-39-year-old age group being the worst hit.8

Data Privacy and Regulations Statistics

Some of the world’s most notable data privacy regulations include the European Union’s (EU’s) 2016 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) passed in 2018 and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act enacted in Canada in early 2000. 

10. The European Commission Recognizes 15 Non-EEA Countries as Providing Adequate Data Protection

These countries are Andorra, Argentina, Canada (commercial organizations), the Faroe Islands, Guernsey, Israel, the Isle of Man, Japan, Jersey, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Switzerland, the United Kingdom under the GDPR and the LED, the United States (commercial organizations participating in the EU-US Data Privacy Framework) and Uruguay.5

11. The Vast Majority of Americans Welcome More Government Regulation to Protect Their Personal Information

According to a Pew Research report in 2023, more than 70% of Americans say the government should enforce more regulation on how companies handle customer data, compared to the 7% who say regulation should be minimized. Some factors contributing to this large majority include eroding trust in social media executives to handle private user data responsibly, and concerns over children’s online privacy and AI.4

12. Most Americans Know Little About Data Privacy Laws

According to the same Pew Research report, more than 70% of Americans in 2023 said they have little to no perception of how data protection laws operate, compared to 63% in 2019. The percentage of those who say they have decent or significant knowledge of how these laws work decreased from 37% in 2019 to 27% in 2023.4 This may be due to technical education failing to keep pace with an evolving privacy landscape. 

13. Most Americans Are Against the Use of AI Tools to Ascertain Eligibility for Public Assistance Due to Privacy Concerns 

More than half of Americans oppose the use of smart computer tools to determine public assistance eligibility, while only 28% support the idea. This opposition stems from concerns about potential bias, lack of transparency and the privacy risks of handing over personal data to the algorithm.4

Trust in Companies to Use AI Tools Responsibly

14. Older Adults Are More Likely to Support Law Enforcement’s Use of Surveillance Tools

Almost 90% of U.S. adults aged 65 and older say they’re in favor of law enforcement procuring footage from private cameras people set up in their homes, compared to just 57% of those aged 18 to 29 years. This can be linked to older adults’ tendency to prioritize security while being oblivious to the privacy risks that could arise from this method of investigation.4

Statistics on Consumer Trust and Data Privacy

Building consumer trust has become an imperative for businesses in 2024. With consumers becoming increasingly aware of the importance of data transparency, businesses that are transparent about how they handle customer data will have an edge over those that aren’t. Current trends reveal that most companies still have significant ground to cover.

15. Americans Increasingly Report That They Lack Insight Into How Companies Use Their Data 

In 2023, about 67% of Americans said they have little to no knowledge of how companies handle their personal data, up from 59% in 2019. Increasing complexity in the way companies manage customers’ data creates the need for improved awareness of and education regarding data handling practices.4

16. People Frequently Tend to Accept Privacy Policies Without Reading Them

About 56% of Americans say they always or often accept privacy policies without reading them. Around 22% say they do this sometimes, while only 18% say they seldom agree to privacy policies without reading them.4

Though it’s essential for consumers to make a conscious effort to read privacy policies before agreeing to them, people often skip this due to the long length and difficult legal terms. Organizations can promote transparency with their customers by publishing concise and easy-to-understand privacy policies. 

Share of Americans Who Read Privacy Policies

17. Most Americans Are Not Confident That Companies Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) Will Handle Their Data Responsibly

A total of 70% of American consumers don’t trust that companies that use AI in their products will handle consumer data responsibly. In addition, most believe that companies will use AI in ways that will raise concerns about online privacy (81%) or breed uncertainty about the actual intended use of the data (80%).4

18. Interestingly, People With More Formal Education Are Less Likely to Read Privacy Policies Before Agreeing to Them

As many as 68% of Americans with a bachelor’s degree or more say they always or often agree to privacy policies without reading them, in contrast to 58% who did not finish college and a smaller percentage of high school graduates and individuals without a high school education.4

19. As of 2023, 28% of Consumers Had Reported That They Exercise Their Data Subject Access Rights (DSAR)

The DSAR is a formal inquiry consumers make to see their personal data and request modifications or deletions. As of 2023, the percentage of consumers exercising their DSAR had increased to 28%, up from 24% in 2022. This varies inversely with age, as 42% of consumers aged 18 to 24 exercise their DSAR compared to 6% of consumers 75 years and older.7

Online Data Privacy Statistics

The following statistics provide a general overview of the ways internet and social media users approach data privacy and business activities that pose privacy challenges. 

20. Meta (Formerly Known as Facebook) and Other Meta-Owned Services Collect the Most Data of All Social Media Companies

In 2022, Meta collected 79.49% of all the types of consumer data that a business can legally collect. Instagram came in close second at 69.23%, and TikTok came in third at 46.15%. These companies collect customer data for a variety of reasons, including showing personalized ads and recommending people or pages to follow.

In some cases, they may sell your data to third parties for advertising purposes, highlighting the need to remain skeptical about large tech companies’ data handling practices.6

21. Some Americans Prioritize a Memorable Password, While Others Prioritize a Secure One

Half of Americans say they’re more comfortable creating strong passwords even if they may be more difficult to recall, while 46% say they prefer creating memorable passwords even if they may be less secure. Adults under the age of 30 are more likely to prefer memorable passwords to strong ones.4

22. More Than Half of Americans Express Concerns About Children’s Online Privacy 

Almost 90% of Americans are uncomfortable with the idea of social media companies having access to children’s personal information. As many as 85% are skeptical of advertisers misusing children’s data to show them personalized ads, while another 84% fear online games will monitor children’s behavior. 

To protect your child’s data security, educate them about the importance of online privacy, and use parental control functions on their online devices to keep them away from online services that are known to misuse children’s information.4

23. Public Awareness of Privacy Laws Is Low but Continues to Increase 

In Cisco’s 2023 consumer privacy survey, 46% of consumers around the world reported being conversant with their country’s privacy laws, an increase from 43% the previous year. The largest proportion of those who indicated being aware live in India (67%), the U.K. (63%) and Italy (55%).7

Public Awareness of Privacy Laws (as percentage of population)

24. Younger Smartphone Users Are More Likely to Lock Their Phones

People under the age of 30 (9%) use security features — like a passcode, a fingerprint scanner or facial recognition — to lock their phones more often than users above the age of 65 (28%).4 In general, most smartphone users (83%) implement this security measure.

25. Data Breaches and Hacks Are More Prevalent Than Ever

About 26% of Americans say that someone made unauthorized transactions with their debit or credit card in 2023. In addition, 11% say their email or social media accounts were hijacked, while 7% report that someone attempted to obtain credit or loans using their identity.4 

The prevalence of identity theft and financial fraud emphasizes the need for stringent security measures, accurate monitoring of online financial accounts and enhanced public awareness of techniques that protect data privacy.

Final Thoughts

Data privacy legislation has come a long way, but there’s still a lot of work to be done to mitigate pervasive internet privacy issues. Though it’s impossible to put a decisive end to companies, government bodies and cyberattackers collecting data, there are still many ways in which internet users can protect their privacy online.

For example, you can read a company’s privacy policy before divulging personal information. You can use a strong password to protect your online accounts. Good VPNs mask your IP address and keep you anonymous, especially when using public WiFi networks. 

End-to-end encryption ensures that the data you share with companies is inaccessible to third parties, so it’s important to use a service that offers this feature. Even better, find services with zero-knowledge encryption, which ensures that even the company itself can’t read your data.

Which measures are you taking to protect your online privacy? What are your thoughts on these online privacy statistics? Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comment section below, and as always, thanks for reading. 

FAQ: Data Privacy

  • One interesting statistic is that 96% of businesses state that privacy investment is imperative for business success, rather than just a compliance obligation.[1]

  • Around 71% of American adults say they’re extremely or slightly concerned about how the government handles the data it collects on them. [12]

  • The most common data privacy concerns include data breaches due to corporate negligence, hackers gaining unauthorized access to sensitive information and businesses misusing data for profit.

  • According to the Pew Research Center, 77% of Americans say they are uninformed about how the government uses their data, and 67% report that they have a minimal grasp of how companies use their data. [4]

Sources:

  1. Cisco — 2024 Data Privacy Benchmark Study 
  2. IBM — Cost of Data Breach Report
  3. Varonis — 64% of Americans Don’t Know What to Do After a Data Breach — Do You? (Survey)
  4. Pew Research — How Americans View Data Privacy
  5. European Commission — Countries with adequate data privacy laws
  6. Clario.co — Big Brother Brands Report: Which Companies Access Our Personal Data the Most?
  7. Cisco — 2023 Consumer Privacy Survey
  8. Surfshark — Cybercrime statistics
  9. McKinsey — The consumer-data opportunity and the privacy imperative
  10. PwC — 2024 Global Digital Trust Insights
  11. TrueSec — Cyber Attacks Continue To Increase in 2024
  12. Pew Research — Key Findings About Data Privacy 
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