Why Users Across the Globe Refuse to Disclose Location Data with Apps

Big Data

Mobile users around the world are growing to be more wary of the information their most used apps collect / Photo by: Daniel Blue via Wikimedia Commons


Mobile users around the world are growing to be more wary of the information their most used apps collect, customer engagement firm Airship found in their study.

In their survey of around 700 million users worldwide, the company aimed to learn how the industry was coping in response to the European Union's GDPR law—which was implemented nearly a year ago.

Airship found that the opt-in rate for sharing location data dropped by almost two percent on an international scale. This, in spite of heightening increases in some sectors. The result shows that users are becoming more vigilant of which apps actually need certain data, TechRepublic says.

The tech news site reports of enterprises turning to push notifications as their initial means of interacting with US-based customers due to the impact of the GDPR (which prompted businesses to trim their email lists in compliance with the law).

"In an era where consumers are becoming much more selective about the channels they opt-into and the data they share, push notifications [to] continue to prove their value by providing customers valuable information at the precise time and place they need it," Mike Stone, Airship's senior vice president of marketing, said in a press release.

The Airship study reported that users now only share their location data with apps that would greatly benefit such information like restaurant services and entertainment. The report also said 'entertainment' was the second highest average location opt-in rate from its previous fourth spot among the 15 industry verticals, according to TechRepublic.

Airship found that 'food & drink' was among the top five because of the increasing adoption of pre-order on mobile and delivery services among quick fast-serving restaurants.

"Both of these industries, and the perennial location leader — Retail — illustrate the willingness of users to share location data when it unlocks convenient, streamlined services that make their daily lives and out-and-about experiences better," the study said.

According to the customer engagement firm, there are variables as to why app use behaviors were changing. In location sharing, there is a stark difference between Android and iOS devices.

Android devices typically provide fewer chances for users to share their location and they are more straightforward in informing users that such data would be used by an app. Meanwhile, iOS devices are more flexible as it allows users to share location data only when an app is in use—a function that Android devices don't offer.