Press Release

Two thirds of UK SME leaders seek data privacy reform to address GDPR shortcomings

Thu 26 Oct 2023

Two thirds of SMEs (66%) are supportive of the UK Government introducing updated and modernised data privacy regulation to address inherent challenges of GDPR.

This is according to a new study by the UK’s marketing trade body, the Data & Marketing Association (DMA UK).

The DMA’s new report, ‘Data Horizons: How UK SMEs and Consumers View the Future of Privacy Regulation’, revealed there is strong demand among SME business owners for revised regulation that is fit for purpose, putting the customer at the heart of data privacy provisions as the digital economy continues to grow and evolve.

Businesses and their marketers need data-driven insight to create the products, services, and experiences that will drive growth. Most SMEs (74%) agree that the processing of personal data is vital to the growth and success of their business.

This comes as the Data Protection & Digital Information Bill (DPDI), which is set to update the UK’s data protection framework, will soon conclude its journey through the House of Commons, before moving into the House of Lords.

“Most SMEs seek reforms to UK data privacy legislation that makes it easier to attract new customers and retain existing ones.

“This is key to unlocking business growth and realising the full potential of the UK digital economy; by using customer insights to simultaneously improve the productivity of businesses and save time for customers through personalised services,” said Chris Combemale, CEO of the DMA.

Businesses admitted to facing inherent challenges presented by UK GDPR when it comes to processing personal customer data.

Nearly half (48%) of SMEs expressed concern that GDPR introduced unnecessary bureaucracy to businesses, while over a third (37%) say it does not work for small businesses.

Alarmingly, nearly half of SMEs (43%) revealed that their business marketing operations have been stunted by GDPR,. and nearly a third (31%) claim GDPR has caused them to get rid of a lot of their customer database.

The types of reforms demanded by SMEs are those which will help them tackle the extremely challenging economic climate and deliver sustainable growth.

“Reforms within the DPDI Bill will create a better balance between innovation and privacy, maintaining GDPR’s high levels of data protection while enabling scientific and technological innovation that will power the future economy.

“There is strong support for these opportunities across the UK’s SME community, so we would urge UK Parliament to complete passage without hesitation,” added Combemale.

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