Based on conjoint analysis, the working paper study examines how actively communicating data portability influences the willingness to use e-mail services.
How does the right to data portability affect user perceptions of online services, and what potential does it offer for attracting new users? In its working paper, the team of authors looks specifically at the question of how data portability — in the sense of simple data portability when switching to a new e-mail service — influences the willingness to use and pay. In addition, it examines the role of digital competence and attitudes to data protection of the user and how users can be made aware of the possibility of data portability in a comprehensible way.
The most important facts in brief
The results show that actively promoting data portability significantly increases the willingness to use a service, compared to a service without an explicitly promoted portability option. Data portability thus increases the attractiveness of an otherwise equivalent service. At the same time, data portability increases the willingness to pay for services. In the current study, the willingness to use a more expensive service with portability was consistently higher than the willingness to use the next cheapest service without portability.
Initial considerations for the design and pricing of online services in the context of data portability:
- Providers have advantages if they make the right to data portability, which the GDPR requires to be implemented anyway, user-friendly and offer simple import and export options for data and content.
- These possibilities should be actively pointed out, as they lead to customers perceiving the offer more positively and being more willing to use it.
- Data portability notices should clearly communicate that data will only be transferred at the user’s request and that no data will be transferred to third parties without explicit consent. Visual representations of processes can promote an understanding of data portability.
- The positive effect of data portability on the willingness to use occurred in the current study for both free and paid services.
- The share of customers who are willing to pay (more) for a service was also increased in the study by an explicit reference to data portability. User-friendly import and export options thus allow providers to price offers (higher).
- How much the willingness to pay increases must be determined specifically for different types of online services (such as e-mail, cloud, streaming, etc.), taking into account the competitive situation.
Overall, the current working paper suggests that data portability has advantages not only for users but also for service providers and should be actively designed.