Late report from Almedalsveckan 2016 – Part II


Last month I wrote a post on Almedalsveckan which included some general insights regarding digitalization and the sharing economy. In this second part of the Almedalveckan report I will dig deeper into user experience and Swedish people´s attitude towards data sharing and privacy.

Insight #3 – Balancing user/consumer privacy and the user experience

Due to the comming reform of data protection rules in the EU, several discussions during the week aimed to shed light on the balance between user privacy and user experience.

User data can be used by organizations to greatly improve the experience that their product or service provide. However, users continuously assess the risk versus the benefit of giving up parts of their information to different actors. As user behavioral data increases in importance for product and service development, digital trust becomes more important in creating competitive advantage in the digital landscape. Consequently, an organization that clearly

  • Communicates the reason for collection of user data
  • Communicates the connection between collected user data and a provided product or service
  • Creates a clear context in which the collected data is connected to a product and/or service
  • Provides privacy by design instead of relying on privacy by policy

has a great advantage in terms of convincing users to provide their data. Furthermore, consumers in the digital space are less interested in buying digital products and more interested in satisfying a specific need. Consequently, the user experience of the digital product or service becomes a means of competition where personalized content is one way of providing a relevant user experience [1].

According to a report conducted by Tieto and HUI Research, a personalized experience can be divided in so called bothersome purchases and joyful purchases.

  • Bothersome purchases are characterized by necessity such as buying toilet paper and personalization is thus not relevant. In the context of such purchases the buyer experience should be minimized and it thus becomes important to:
    • Keep the experience short, simple and fast.
  • Joyful purchases, such as new clothes or new technology, often revolve around or generate an interest and thus generate more engagement. In the context of such purchases the buyer experience should be expanded and personalized. Joyful purchases are facilitated by:
    • Relevance
    • Social interaction with others having the same interest
    • Allow users to test a product before purchase
    • Design that allows further learning and deeper understanding of whatever the user wants to buy.

However, what is seen as a bothersome or a joyful purchase is subjective and can consequently be hard to generalize across larger groups of individuals.

Insight #4  – Attitudes on data sharing and privacy

Based on a report conducted by SICS Swedish ICT and Insight Intelligence one can derive that:

  • 25% of respondents were positive to the notion of sharing private data with companies.
  • Respondents who think they know how their data is used are more inclined to share private data.
  • Respondents between ages 30-39 years were the most frequent online shoppers and 1 in 3 stated that they bought something online at least once a week.
  • Groups that frequently bought items online were more inclined to share private information online.
  • Consumer uncertainty regarding the use of e-commerce solutions and their general unwillingness to share private data is largely due to inexperience and lack of information.

Another insight gained from Almedalsveckan was that the threshold of tolerance regarding what users see as invasive to their privacy is dynamic over time. In 2008, a large Swedish food retailer introduced personalized offers on selected items to consumers who were part of their membership program. However, consumers expressed concerns regarding privacy violations [2] and Swedish authorities looked into the matter in order to establish if a crime had been committed [3]. Fast forward to 2016 and personalized offers are everywhere without consumers expressing concerns.

So what does this mean in practice?

Just as in the previous post about Almedalsveckan I would like to start a discussion around what you believe the insights above imply for you personally, your organization and/or society? Feel free to discuss in the comment section.

[1] HUI research & Tieto (2016), Tieto Retail Outlook No. 2: Digitalization and integrity
– In search of the balance between cool and creepy (




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