Survey: 50% of Americans Read the Privacy Policy Before Downloading a New App

Gainesville, FL – April 10, 2024 – A new study from HostingAdvice, the online authority on web hosting, revealed that half of Americans (50%) read the privacy policy before downloading a new app. In fact, 9% of those surveyed said they believe the privacy policy is the most important deciding factor when downloading a new app. 

87% of Survey Respondents Say an App’s Privacy Policy Is Important

Of those surveyed, 87% said they believe app privacy policies are important; 37% said privacy policies were somewhat important; 41% said they were very important, and 9% said privacy policies were the most important factor when downloading an app. Only 13% of survey respondents said they do not feel app privacy policies are important. This number increases to 19% for Gen Z respondents.

The survey also found that more than 4 in 10 Americans surveyed (41%) opt into sharing features such as location, camera, microphone, and Bluetooth when downloading a new app. 

More than half of Americans surveyed (51%) said they feel comfortable sharing their location with third-party apps, but younger generations said they were less comfortable with this. Baby boomers (61%) are the most comfortable sharing their location compared to Gen Z (33%), who are the least comfortable.

The survey also revealed that nearly one-third of Americans (31%) are incentivized by personalized offers and targeted ads to share tracking features with third-party apps. Many third-party app users allow access to features that could reveal personal information, for example: 

  • 51% share location
  • 32% share Bluetooth
  • 29% share other web/app activity
  • 27% share microphones
  • 21% share camera rolls
  • 16% share contacts

“While privacy policies are long, filled with fine print, and tough to read, there are several reasons to check them out, especially when downloading new apps for the first time,” said Tim Keary, Contributing Expert for HostingAdvice. “They inform users how their personal data will be collected, used, and protected. New app users should always check settings to ensure they’re only sharing what they’re comfortable with, including the app’s access to certain features like the camera and microphone, which could be vulnerable to hackers.”

16% of Americans Surveyed Have TikTok Shop Privacy Concerns

The survey revealed that for the 84% of Americans who have not made a purchase from TikTok Shop in the last six months, 16% cited privacy concerns around sharing payment information, 15% said there are too many illegitimate third-party sellers, 15% thought they could get better prices elsewhere, and 11% said there weren’t enough product reviews from verified customers.

Of the 16% of Americans surveyed who have made a purchase using TikTok Shop in the last six months (ending in February 2024):

  • 42% said they would make additional purchases based on sales incentives for featured products.
  • 24% were unhappy with their purchase or the product received wasn’t accurate to the listings/photos.
  • 23% have made additional purchases since.
  • 11% wouldn’t do it again because shipping was slow. 

Note that 61% of survey respondents said they do not use TikTok.

Methodology: A national online survey of 1,015 U.S. consumers, ages 18 and older, was conducted by Propeller Insights on behalf of in February of 2024. Survey responses were nationally representative of the U.S. population for age, gender, region, and ethnicity. The maximum margin of sampling error was +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

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