UK consumers find facial recognition-driven targeted ads “creepy”: RichRelevance report

July 27, 2015 - 

RichRelevance published a new UK study, “Creepy or Cool” that reveals that 70% of UK shoppers find facial recognition technology that identifies age and gender in order to display product recommendations “creepy”.

The study, which surveyed 1,049 consumers in the UK about their attitudes towards digital enhancements to the store shopping experience, found that 72% of UK consumers find personalization of product recommendations based on purchasing habits a “cool” capability.

RichRelevance analysts calculated the “Creepy” score by taking the total “Creepy” score (percent) of each region and deducting that region’s total “Cool” score (percent), to reach a net percentage of how much each region’s ‘creepy’ ratings outperforms its ‘cool’ ratings.

The report revealed that 76% of British consumers find being greeted by their names when walking into a store because of their mobile phones signaling their entrance to be “creepy”.

The report found that 68% of UK consumers found facial recognition technology that identifies age and gender to target advertisements on digital screens to be “creepy”.

Additionally, 73% of consumers found it creepy when a salesperson greeted them by name when they entered a store because their mobile phone signaled their entrance.

Finally, 77% of UK consumers found it creepy when facial recognition technology identified them as a high-value shopper and sent this data to a sales associate.

“While it’s always been a well-known fact that UK consumers are keen protectors of their privacy and personal space, we now have a clearer view into where they are increasingly embracing – and even expecting – tailored shopping services in the fast-changing world of retail,” said Diane Kegley, CMO of RichRelevance. “Personalisation in the form of facial recognition or personal greeting at store entrance may not be welcome, but we’re seeing a trend of younger consumers who are open to a connected shopping experience—receiving recommendations delivered within their personal space like dressing rooms and smartphones, and allowing in-store tracking if it means getting a better deal.”

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.