Digital Trends: Consumers want to preserve their right to anonymity online and keep control

Some 39 per cent of UK consumers want the information they share online to be automatically removed after a specified time, and over half of global consumers (59 per cent) are more likely to buy from brands that allow them to update their own privacy setting*.

These are the findings from the latest survey into Digital Trends from Microsoft, which notes that the more technology becomes entwined with the consumer world, the more consumers want their online experiences to mirror those offline.

According to the study, people are making permanent the things they want to remember, deleting the things they want to forget, and shaping profiles to create multiple identities. Some 73 per cent of consumers would be interested in using a service that allows them to remove information and set life-spans for every piece of information uploaded.

This trend for consumers to control what happens to their information – The Right to Anonymity – is one of eight key digital trends that Microsoft has identified as it maps changing and emerging consumer behaviour and attitudes globally toward brands and advertising.

Other insights and recommendations for brands include:

  • Conversations around privacy are becoming more prominent. As more personal information is documented online, particularly through social networks, consumers are more aware of online reputation and are demanding greater control over their privacy. The onus is now on the brand to justify why it needs to hold onto an individual's data rather than fighting for it. 
  • Consumers expect brands to offer them complete access to the information that is collected about them, and be able to remove that data on request. For example, apps like Snapchat and give users a way to share spontaneous moments that self-destruct when that moment has passed. 
  • Brands must put consumers first, and be open and clear about how they want to collect and use their data. By creating a relationship established through a value exchange, consumers will understand the benefits of sharing their data, allowing them to opt in to experiences.   

* From around 1,000 respondents in the UK. From around 8,000 globally in key international markets.

Microsoft Advertising has joined forces with Brand Republic at to share the findings of its research insights into the future of digital behaviour and technology with brands and agencies.

The first study is called Digital Trends and was conducted with IPG Mediabrands and The Future Laboratory. Visit to find out more on emerging digital consumer trends among early adopters as well as regular and heavy Internet users. The study examined awareness and engagement with trends, and evaluated behaviour and attitudes toward technology.

Follow the debate about these findings on Twitter at @MSAdvertisingUK and use the hashtag #MSFTinsight to join in.