Half of Smartphone Owners Don’t Want Their Locations Tracked

Study suggests mobile marketers should cool it

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Attention retailers: shoppers are not as interested with beacons and in-store tracking as you think they are, according to a new report from digital marketing platform Punchtab. The findings come at an interesting time as marketers are beginning to share new case studies and launch location-based programs.

The "Mobile Tracking: Are Consumers Ready?" report surveyed 1,153 consumers on how they feel about handing over information about themselves in exchange for some form of personalized messages. While 50 percent of participants did not want to be tracked, 27 percent of the consumers surveyed said they were open to it—but only under certain circumstances. The remaining 23 percent of consumers in the study did not care if they were tracked or not.

Of the 50 percent of participants who didn't want to be tracked online, privacy was the No. 1 reason offered, at 51 percent. Another 13 percent didn’t want to receive too many messages and 8 percent were wary of irrelevant messages. An additional 5 percent of users were afraid a marketer would manipulate their information or send inappropriate and uninteresting messages.

Within the 27 percent of consumers who opted in to location tracking, 88 percent said that they would give over information in exchange for a coupon or special offer. Shorter checkout times (72 percent), personalized alerts (69 percent) and checking the status of points and rewards (58 percent) were other top reasons. 

The research also looks at specific types of retailers where consumers are willing to give up their location data. Eighty-four percent were interested in being tracked at superstores, and 78 percent were inclined to get deals from department stores (likely to help them either navigate or find offers).

Take a look at the chart below for a more in-depth look at the different scenarios that consumers deem most important in letting marketers track them via a smartphone. 

@laurenjohnson lauren.johnson@adweek.com Lauren Johnson is a senior technology editor for Adweek, where she specializes in covering mobile, social platforms and emerging tech.