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Use of cookies and trackers by UK’s top retail brands revealed

Uses of cookies and trackers

New Retail Trust Index reveals the use of cookies and trackers by UK’s top retail brands.

Empathy.co, leaders in innovative and ethical commerce search, has launched the Retail Trust Index (RTI), to examine the online tracking practices across the retail industry, and the impact of intrusive data practices on consumer trust. 

The RTI shows that consumers when shopping online with the UK’s leading retailers will be on average tracked by 10 separate trackers, and over 50% were used to share information to third parties for advertising. Fashion retail brands were shown to utilise the most online trackers, whilst Supermarket brands used the least. 

The top 10 brands that use the most trackers are as follows:

  1. JD Sports 
  2. Wickes 
  3. Adidas 
  4. Clarks 
  5. Selfridges 
  6. B&Q
  7. John Lewis 
  8. Iceland 
  9. Sports Direct 
  10. TK Maxx 

Along with this, Empathy.co’s new consumer research shows that less than one-fifth of UK consumers (19%) trust the UK’s leading retailers. As 69% of Brits feel cookies and other online tracking practices are intrusive, with a further 50% of them changing their online shopping habits to avoid retailers from tracking their purchases through cookies. 

More than half of UK consumers (60%) know online retailers track users’ online browser history, but this awareness is only furthering consumer distrust, with 50% of consumers believing retail brands aren’t doing enough to protect their privacy online. 

Concerningly for ecommerce, the RTI reveals a retail-trust gap between online and instore shopping. Over two-thirds of consumers (70%) feel their personal data is more secure when they shop in-store. In fact, most consumers (62%) would avoid online tracking activities altogether by shopping in stores, demonstrating the impact of the trust gap that is seen in the retail industry, especially for online retailers. 

However, supermarket retail brands such as Tesco, Sainsburys, and Asda ranked as the most trusted retailers with 39%, 33% and 31% of consumers trusting these brands respectively. Other supermarket brands, Morrisons and Co-op also used the least amount of trackers alongside Waterstones, Harrods, B&M and Wilko.  

The retail brands using the least amount of online trackers are as follows: 

  1. Morrisons , Waterstones 
  2. Harrods, B&M, Co-op, Wilko 
  3. HMV, H&M 
  4. Hugo Boss, Disney Store,  Holland & Barrett, Tesco, Nike, Lidl 
  5. House of Fraser, Calvin Klein, Specsavers 

Angel Maldonado, CEO of Empathy.co said “The Retail Trust Index lays bare the extensive use of online trackers in the retail sector. The continued use of such intrusive practices are having a clear and detrimental impact on retail brands’ relationship with consumers online. With almost 20% of consumers not trusting any of the UK’s leading retail brands, it’s clear that consumers simply don’t trust retailers. As retail becomes an increasingly digital industry,  a new approach is needed to restore trust before it is irrevocably damaged.” 

Find out more

For further information and insights visit the Retail Trust Index page here

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