When buying products online, it’s generally accepted that certain customer data will be taken and may even be shared with third parties. However, a recent study has shown that fashion retail apps collect and use more information about you than you might think.
Privacy company Incogni’s research reveals the information taken from you when signing up for fashion retail apps.
Information like your name, payment details, address for delivery, email address, and phone number are common things that fashion retailers require, as this information enables products to arrive at their destination.
However, data such as your sexual orientation, contacts list, and healthcare information aren’t essential in ensuring a successful shopping experience.
This report looks into some of the most popular fashion shopping apps across 59 countries alongside the shopping apps of the top apparel brands of 2023 – amounting to 180 apps in total.
The report found that out of 180 apps:
- 45 apps collected photos
- 12 apps collected videos
- 9 apps collected search history
- 6 apps collected information regarding sexual orientation
The report also found:
- 24 apps share photos with third parties
- 2 apps share information about sexual orientation
- 1 app shares health information
Nike and H&M collected the most amount of data points which included photos, videos, and messages, the report states.
Brands that share “a concerning amount of sensitive data with third parties for the purposes of advertising and/or marketing” were PUMA, Under Armour, The North Face, and H&M.
Incogni found that user’s email addresses are the most collected data point, and “device or other IDs” are the most likely to be shared.
Sensitive data points
Incogni highlighted the most sensitive data points collected by fashion retail applications.
Information such as your precise location, sexual orientation, photos, videos, contacts, installed apps, browsing history, and voice or sound recordings are frequently collected, alongside sensitive information like your credit score, SMS, and MMS messages.
Data points shared with third parties
Not only was this data collected, Incogni found that data points were also collected and shared with third parties.
Precise location, names, email addresses, photos, emails, SMS and MMS messages, sexual orientation, and health information were collected and shared.
The report found that out of 156 apps that collect data, 35.9% of all data points were optional.
Whereas with top brands, the percentage of optional data points was 52.1%.
Information such as sexual orientation was optional in 4 out of 6 instances.
Which apps share my information?
Well-known fashion retailers such as Nike, Adidas, H&M, Victoria’s Secret, Puma, Zalando, and Myntra (who share health information with a third party) are all members of the very long list of apps that collect and share sensitive information.
Incogni found 2 out of 10 of the most popular apps within a list of 10 that collect the most data.
Nike and H&M both collect 18 data points respectively, and are “tied for the 7th most data collecting apps with 4 other apps.”
The report concludes by saying that some of these data points are collected in earnest, as they’re needed to improve your shopping experience.
However, some are deemed unnecessary and not needed to provide the desired service.
“Remember to be cautious about the data you share,” Darius Belejevas, Head of Incogni, reminds consumers.
Cybernews has reached out to Nike and H&M for comment, we are awaiting a reply.
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