Will young Canadians trade access to their data for free products and services?

February 16, 2020

Our 2019 Youth Study revealed that over half of young Canadians aged 13-37 are willing to give companies access to their personal information and/or health information in exchange for free products, and/or paying less for certain services. This study, which is the largest of its kind, surveyed 3,003 millennials and members of Generation Z to understand their perceptions and their attitudes toward a variety of subjects, including the protection of their personal data.

Padlock with electronic devices

Do they find that companies are too intrusive in terms of their privacy? Are they ready to disclose their personal data to companies in exchange for free products? Are they prepared to go as far as revealing their health data to companies? Should governments enact legislation to protect the data of their citizens better? These are some of the questions that we asked.

Over half of these young Canadians agree they would accept companies:

  • Using their personal information in exchange for free products
  • Evaluating their health information in exchange for free products
  • Evaluating their health information in exchange for paying less for certain services

However, over half also feel that companies are too intrusive, and the government should do more to protect their data. This may seem like a contradiction at first, but it reveals that young Canadians want to have control over their personal data.

In a 2018 article for MarTech Today, Robin Kurzer refers to this type of situation as a “privacy paradox- where customers want their data protected but are willing to share personal information if they see a clear benefit.”1

In the situations we asked young Canadians about, saving money is the most explicit benefit…

…and it may be particularly appealing to members of Generation Z.

Person putting money into a piggy bank

According to Mary Hanbury (Business Insider), Gen Z-ers “don’t want to pay full price for anything” and have “an obsession with price.”2 Millennials tend to be price-conscious as well.

For companies, the Youth Study results about the protection of personal data are revealing.

First, companies with massive data breaches lost some points in the COOL rankings. Young Canadians are aware of and concerned about the protection of their privacy, identity theft, and data breaches.

That said, many young Canadians understand that their data has value and can be used as a bargaining chip. Whether in exchange for free delivery, gift cards, or discounts, young Canadians are ready to share their personal information with businesses. For them, it is an acceptable way of doing business: as long as they get something back.



The 2019 Youth Study (Canada) was conducted online by Leger from August 13 to September 1, 2019, among 3,003 Canadians aged 13 to 37, randomly recruited from Leger Opinion’s online panel. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of 3,003 respondents would have a margin of error of ±1.8%, 19 times out of 20.




Want to learn more about the perspectives of young Canadians? Contact us for more information!

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