2016 trends series: The personal information economy market will take off in earnest in 2016

Published on April 8, 2016

We have collated 10 trends that we think are reshaping digital in 2016. This is the sixth installment of our series which looks at things that are happening now in Q1, whilst identifying trends to look out for in the rest of the year.

You may already be familiar with many of the trends we highlight in this series, but the cycle of innovation and iteration that our industry is known for means existing concepts can suddenly find radically new trajectories. In this series, we highlight ten ideas that are gaining rapid traction today, and which will reshape how we digitally interact with the world around us.

To help you organize your priorities for the trends in this series, we have sorted them as “trends to prepare for now” and “trends to start thinking about”.

Our sixth installment is a trend to prepare for now:

The personal information economy market will take off in earnest in 2016


Consumer backlash against personal 
data collection by companies is creating an opportunity for new intermediaries 
to help consumers take back control of their data.

The idea of personal information being an asset class was circulated by the World Economic Forum back in 2011 and Doc Searls (author of the Cluetrain Manifesto) has been writing extensively about customers taking charge of their own data. When discussing data collection by companies, Apple CEO Tim Cook was quoted as saying “we think customers will rebel over this. Over the arc of time, customers will move to people they trust with their data.”

Enter the idea of a Personal Information Economy, where value is created by letting consumers take control of their data and use it to better manage their tasks. Consultancy Ctrl-Shift is now tracking 500 companies in the space who have received a total of $2.5 Bn in investments so far. We saw MyWave’s presentation at this year’s Personal Information Economy conference in December 2015 (organized by Ctrl-Shift) and were duly convinced that this market is now ready for take-off.

of consumers agree with this statement:

I should be able to control what data a company collects about me online, and what it uses this data for.

Source: BCS / YouGov December 2015

Smart brands that understand this opportunity and actually build data strategies that benefit their customers will win in the battle for customer trust.

They will be able to build on this trust by launching new services that help their customers manage more aspects of their lives. This shift will be part of the continued move from generic mass marketing campaigns to tailored targeted interactions initiated by consumers sharing – knowingly or unknowingly – a purchase intention or unfilled need online. Businesses need to build an online infrastructure to support this new kind of relationship with consumers by developing the correct online skills, capabilities, technologies and channels.

PIMS (Personal Information Management Services) is one example of the kind of services that can help consumers complete life tasks more efficiently. As an extension of the mortgage products they sell to their customers, a bank could, for example, offer a solution for consumers to manage the whole process of moving house. Much of the data captured in the mortgage application process can be repurposed to facilitate the complex task of moving.

You can find the whole series here:

10 trends reshaping digital – updated Q1 2016 from Beyond