Consumers actually shed their "real-world" identities when they go online to assume "digital personas" that better reflect how they feel, what actions they take around their personal information and how much value they place on their own data.
This is among the findings of a new global study released recently by MasterCard.
The Digital Sharing Trust Project discovered that five personas — Open Sharers, Simply Interactors, Solely Shoppers, Passive Users and Proactive Protectors — are spread evenly throughout the global population and ignore any regional or demographic boundaries.
“Nearly 2.5 billion people around the globe use the internet every day,” said Theodore Iacobuzio, Vice President of MasterCard's Global Insights group, which produced the study. “This research shows that regardless of who they are and where they live, they all share something in common when it comes to how they act and behave online — these five unique global personality types. It also shows us that when consumers go online, characteristics such as age, gender or nationality become secondary and they instead assume a sense of what we refer to as 'social citizenship'.”
Some of the key findings about each online persona group include:
Open Sharers: Open Sharers are the most highly digital group of the five and tend to lead less risk-averse online activities. Half of them are online more than 10 times per day and when they share their personal information, they expect deals, access and offers in return.
Simply Interactors: This persona includes some of the most dedicated social networkers, yet they are not particularly tech-savvy consumers. When it comes to online shopping, a majority (80%) will research products online, but 63% still prefer to shop in person. Though they are aware of targeted marketing, they don’t see their data as valuable and thus don’t express significant concern about it.
Solely Shoppers: This online personality is characterized by their reliance on the internet for savvy shopping research and purchases. The majority (90%) of these internet users researches products online before buying and half use their mobile phone to price check in-store in order to get the best deals.
Passive Users: As the name suggests, this group’s members are not fully convinced of the internet’s value and therefore tend to spend the least amount of time online of all the personas. They are less frequent on social networks (only 48%) and not heavy online shoppers.
Proactive Protectors: Comprising 17% of all online consumers, the Proactive Protectors are highly aware of targeted marketing – in fact 82% are knowledgeable that marketers can target them based on their search and browsing history. They are unlikely to use social networks and the most guarded with their privacy settings of all the personas – taking steps to protect and control their digital footprint.
The study included a survey of more than 9,000 digital consumers aged 16-65 in nine markets - the United States, Canada, Germany, United Kingdom, India, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Brazil and Colombia.