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80% of consumers likely to refuse to be tracked by location based services in stores, ground-breaking US study finds

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Given the choice, 80% of consumers are likely to refuse to have their to their movements tracked in retail stores via their smartphones, according to a new survey in the US by Chicago-based OpinionLab. The news is a bit of a blow to the growing swell of interest in beacons and location based services.

Of the 1042 people quizzed in mid-March, eight out of 10 consumers don’t want to be tracked without giving their explicit consent and 64% will only permit tracking of what they do and where they go if they opt-in or sign up to participate in a programme – and ideally gain something.

Nearly a quarter of shoppers or 24% believe retailers shouldn’t do any in-store tracking at all.

Even promises of a better shopping experience didn’t change consumers’ minds with 88% saying it wouldn’t make any difference. This is a response that is directly contrary to the opt-out platform adopted by 11 mobile location analytics firms.

But what might make a difference is if retailers provided some incentive for participating, like discounts or free products. In the wake of data breaches at big retailers such as Target in the US, consumers simply don’t trust retailers. A vast majority of shoppers – 81% – do not trust retailers to keep their data private and secure.

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