We live in a world where gigabytes of information is being shared every second. As you read this, more than 10,000 tweets are being sent out, around 2500 photos are being uploaded on Instagram and 50,000 searches on Google are happening, according to Internetlivestats.

What does one do with so much information on the internet? Today, it is also possible to capture the minutest transactional data, which makes it possible to analyse customer behaviour and buying pattern.

“There’s an astonishing 28k GB of internet traffic every second. And one of the endless possibilities is the evolution of Big Data”

big data consumers


Giant retail chains around the world are now capturing customer data at point of sale (POS) – phone number, age, sex, to begin with. Project leaders say that this data is going to help them come up with targeted marketing campaigns. Apart from data from brick and mortar stores, companies are also collecting online data from their customers such as their online activities. A recent study says that 78% of consumers will be more willing to buy from a retailer again if their offers are more targeted and custom-made for each customer.

“Giant retail chains are capturing customer data at every POS possible – Companies say that this data helps them execute targeted campaigns”

Nordstrom, one of America’s top fashion retailers, has been investing in innovation and data-driven, personalized customer experiences. The company collects and analyses big data generated by their Facebook (3.3M), Pinterest (4M) and Twitter (6M) followers. By heavily incentivizing customers to use Nordstrom’s credit card and sign up for their Rewards Program they’re able to collect data on customer purchases and preferences that helps them improve marketing and product design, and optimize ad spend. Here, the customer can decide whether they want to share information – signing up means parting with data but leads to higher discounts. It’s a win-win for both. Read more


While medical advancements are proving to be game changers from gadgets that obliterate migraines to watches that capture heart rate and other key measures of the human body – the data being collected by these innovative gadgets can be sent to doctors which enables them to identify signs of risk. According to a recent study, 88% of customers would appreciate their doctors be armed with their electronic health information and 76% of customers are comfortable in sharing their medical information via mobile apps.

One Drop is a free new app for diabetics to track and share their glucose, food, insulin and physical activity in exchange for tips about eating and living better. CipherHealth aims to help patients by enabling individuals to send sleep, diet and exercise metrics through wearables such as Fitbits to their doctor. The outcome is lesser hospital visits, increased self-awareness and fewer costly hospital visits. Consumers can again decide – share data for immediate advice or not to share data at all.


Big data analytics has been used in the financial industry for years – in fact – a recent survey says that 71% of the surveyed banking and financial markets report that the use of information and analytics is creating a competitive advantage for their organizations, compared with 63% of cross-industry respondents. What does this mean for the customer? Innovative products and services, enhanced existing products and better customer-bank relationships.

Bank of America is using big data to understand aspects of the customer relationship that they couldn’t previously get at. Understanding multi-channel customer relationships has become a lot easier with analytics – according to a recent study by Thomas Davenport and Jull Dychéthe at the International Institute for Analytics working with SAS Institute. From analysing credit card information to usage of different channels like branches, ATMs, call centers etc by customers, banks are now trying to analyse customer journeys. Read more.

However, a major issue remains of data security fraudulent activities. A recent study reports that over 76% of the customers would jump the wagon to change their bank if a competitor bank assures data security.


Usage-based insurance is an excellent example of the individual choosing to share information about their driving information using vehicle sensor technology, past driving record and also necessary medical information – this way both parties know the exact risk involved and hence the insurance price is more accurate. It is more transparent and the end user is empowered to take a decision – on whether he wants fair pricing for data shared. Feeding your driver profile gets factored into auto insurance prices from companies such as Progressive.

“Usage based Insurance lets customers decide whether to share information – this way both parties know the risk & it leads to fair pricing”

Recently, John Hancock Financial started offering discounts to policyholders who wear Fitbits or other personal health devices. More steps would lead to higher discounts.

Across industries, sharing a customer’s personal data has become a norm so much so that privacy questions have taken a back seat. Privacy concerns, especially digital privacy, remains, a recent survey reports that 86% of internet users have taken steps online to remove or mask their digital footprints – however – only 37% believe it actually is possible to be completely anonymous online. Privacy, instead of being seen as a right, could be seen as an exchange of information between two parties; this would benefit both the consumer and the company. However, there’s a long way to go before consumers feel and are totally empowered to share only what they want, when they want. The end user – you and me – let’s be honest, we love discounts, we love a custom-made offer – but there’s a long way to go until Big Data Analytics reaches that point of evolution.

“With rise in big data & internet freedom, there’s huge potential in empowering the consumer: share information and enjoy better services”

Would you be willing to trade some information about yourself for a better offer for a product or a service? Which industry would you be most willing to sacrifice your age, gender and preferences to? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Author : Shruti Shah Date : 17 Jul 2015