Most Desired Data: Whose is the most in demand, and how much is it worth?

Most Desired Data: Whose is the most in demand, and how much is it worth?

In the 21st Century, our data is one of our most sought-after assets. Every website we sign up to, every social media account we connect with, and every cookie pop-up we approve collects our personal information, using it to promote products to us and keep us engaged.

 

But while giving your data away might be as easy as clicking ‘approve’, there are big businesses on the other side of the deal willing to pay big money to buy it.

 

We take a look at how much your data is worth, and whose information companies are willing to invest the most in.

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What do companies use your data for?

The reason your data matters to businesses so much is what it’s used for. Not only is it used to target you with personalized ads, but it also tailors online experiences for you, tracks how you use websites, monitors the kind of products you spend time looking at, and helps brands try and sell more to you.

 

While giving things like your age, location and email address away might seem like nothing to you, the info is everything to the brands who collect it. Studies reveal that companies such as Facebook, Uber, and Tinder are amongst those using over 50% of the data that it’s possible to get on you. That’s why they’re willing to pay for it because ultimately they hope it will pay them back.

 

Unlike things like ransomware, (which we have a handy way of stopping,) the cookies and tracking tools that brands put on your computer are designed (in theory) to help you. By monitoring how you behave online, companies can tailor the experience to suit your needs.

How much is your data worth?

The price of your data depends a lot on which demographic you fit in. For example, the cost of someone aged between 18-24 is MORE than someone between 25-34, largely because the older you are, the more your money is likely to be tied up in bills and other financial commitments. The price varies again depending on your average household income, and even differs depending on your race and the color of your skin. 

Male data is worth more than females

The price businesses are willing to pay for men’s data is slightly more than for their female counterparts. Each year, $24.6 million is spent on the data of men, compared to $23.3 million for women. While those numbers might sound huge, on an individual basis it’s much less. One man’s data costs $0.15, while a woman's goes for $0.14.

GenderCost for Data Per PersonPercentage of PopulationTotal Demographic Cost
Male

$0.15

48.59%

$24,691,262.94

Female

$0.14

51.41%

$23,341,504.93

18-24 year-olds cost more per person than anyone else

The data of younger demographics is the most expensive, with brands forking out $14.25 million every year to appeal to an up and coming target audience. Per person, that’s $0.36, triple the amount paid for 25-34 year-olds who only cost $0.11, or $7.7 million annually.

 

The least valuable data demographic is people over the age of 55. At only $0.05 per person, or $5.2 million a year, businesses aren’t willing to invest in an aging market, as those people are near retirement and their income potentially decreases.

AgeCost for Data Per PersonPercentage of PopulationTotal Demographic Cost
18-24

$0.36

11.92%

$14,253,466.27

25-34

$0.11

21.80%

$7,791,894.90

35-44

$0.12

20.30%

$8,368,383.54

45-54

$0.27

13.76%

$12,346,312.34

55+

$0.05

32.22%

$5,272,710.83

Ethnic Data Inequality

Businesses are willing to spend the big buck when it comes to black people’s data, with a per-person cost of $0.57. White people’s data only costs $0.19, but due to the percentage of the population they make up (45%) compared to black people (24%), annually more money is spent on this segment. Every year, data for white people costs businesses $21.8 million, while data for black people cost $11.9 million.

 

Other races affect the price of data too. For Hispanics, companies only pay out $0.01 per person, while that goes up to $0.05 for Asians. Native Americans cost slightly more at $0.09, but the biggest earners by far are Middle Eastern internet users, who cost $0.62 per person.

EthnicityCost for Data Per PersonPercentage of PopulationTotal Demographic Cost
White

$0.19

35.56%

$21,845,128.59

Black

$0.57

6.40%

$11,942,003.63

Hispanic

$0.01

8.09%

$345,523.24

Asian

$0.05

1.11%

$188,886.04

Native American

$0.09

0.68%

$202,860.90

Middle Eastern

$0.62

0.15%

$299,291.26

Mixed

$0.03

1.21%

$127,817.62

Other

$0.07

0.82%

$184,779.82

Please, note as the data was taken from optional surveys the remaining percentages didn’t disclose.

How do your earnings impact your data’s worth?

You might think that the more you earn, the more businesses would be willing to pay for your information. The higher your salary, the more you’ll have available to pay. However, it’s not until you get to the big money that salary really makes a difference. In fact, those who earn less than $10,000 a year are valued at $0.10, likely because they’re young students who are more likely to talk about products on social media. Then, between those that earn up to $19,999 a year ($0.03) and $119,999 ($0.04) there’s little difference. The big leap comes when people earn between $120,000 and $149,999, who are worth $0.33 per person.

 

It seems brands either want you to be young and carefree, or rich and worry-free before they invest in your data.

Annual Family IncomeCost for Data Per PersonPercentage of PopulationTotal Demographic Cost
Less than $10,000

$0.10

3.15%

$1,081,093.97

$10,000 - $19,999

$0.03

6.10%

$590,998.04

$20,000 - $29,999

$0.04

4.51%

$634,723.43

$30,000 - $39,999

$0.07

4.12%

$936,440.55

$40,000 - $49,999

$0.02

4.94%

$399,923.48

$50,000 - $59,999

$0.03

6.69%

$578,150.25

$60,000 - $69,999

$0.05

3.68%

$563,451.52

$70,000 - $79,999

$0.05

2.81%

$420,140.78

$80,000 - $99,999

$0.05

3.15%

$532,964.16

$100,000 - $119,999

$0.04

2.71%

$362,328.50

$120,000 - $149,999

$0.33

1.84%

$2,014,766.03

$150,000 or more

$0.22

2.23%

$1,592,509.68

Please, note as the data was taken from optional surveys the remaining percentages didn’t disclose.

Don’t want your data to be used?

Getting all of your data back might be a challenge, but removing cookies from your devices is something we can help with. Read our guide to returning your Mac to its factory settings, clearing your cache, and stopping brands from monitoring your movements. 


Methodology

Using the data obtained through US & UK national representation surveys from YouGov, we calculated the value for the individual demographic’s data and then looked at gender, age, income, ethnicity, and location to calculate whose data is collectively worth the most and least. We were able to use individual data to scale up to population demographics, thus putting a figure on the average cost of that entire demographics data. Please note, respondents didn’t disclose ethnicity or family income.

 

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