Consumers and companies alike are more reliant on technology than ever before. The convenience of modern purchasing practices has come from customers’ willingness to share their data and companies’ willingness to use it. But consumers are becoming skeptical, and data privacy is a chief concern in the world of tech. A new study from financial institution ATB Ventures revealed that 62% of North Americans are concerned about their data’s safety.

The tech world is growing and changing at a rapid pace, widening the digital divide between those who have access, privacy and security, and those who don’t. Closed schools during the coronavirus pandemic highlighted this issue. According to data from Pew Research Center, six in ten parents with lower incomes anticipated that their children would face digital obstacles related to schoolwork because of limited access to technological tools.

This gap between the haves and have-nots has only increased tech’s trust deficit. Consumers are now aware of bias in artificial intelligence, the previously hidden ways their data is used, and the ties between technology access and economic status. This is a critical moment for the tech world, and developers must put consumer trust at the center of their plans for the future.

Convenience and Privacy Aren’t Mutually Exclusive

The study by ATB Ventures examined consumers’ relationship with data, their concerns about privacy, and their desires for tech experiences. The majority of consumers (70%) believe that companies should be more liable when it comes to protecting their personal data. Can consumers have both the convenience of personalized shopping experiences and the security of their personal data?

Tech companies must make this possible by embedding trust-building strategies into the development of new technology. This is what will enable tech to flourish in the growing digital marketplace.

“Convenience and privacy are opposing forces by way of profit—not technology,” said ATB Ventures Director Chandra Rink.

If profitability is the ultimate goal, tech companies will miss opportunities to cultivate consumer trust and innovate in the tech world. But customers also expect a personalized experience. According to a study by Accenture, 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with a brand that offers personalized recommendations. Technological innovation and success in the next decade will require that companies stand in the gap for their customers and offer both convenience and privacy.

With over a thousand North Americans surveyed, the data shows the past, present, and future of the tech world when consumer trust and customer value become the primary goal.