What the top six beauty companies do with your data
By eleanor blackwood
8 min read
It would be hard to find someone today that’s never online shopped. But, with more of us moving online to buy everything from food to foundation, companies have more data on their customers than ever before.
So what exactly do some of the biggest beauty companies, which soared in popularity during lockdown, know about you? And what do they do with this information? We’ve read through their privacy and cookie policies and answered these questions below, so keep reading if you’d like to find out - some of the answers may surprise you!
⚠️When we list the data a company collects on you this doesn’t necessarily mean the company shares all this data with advertisers, they may only share some of it. But, a full list allows us to see what data could be accessed if there’s a data breach we look at this in the ‘Have they made any big data-related headlines?’ section.
If you’ve ever needed to take care of your skin, hair or paracetamol needs, it’s likely you’ve given Boots a visit. Boots is the UK’s leading health and beauty retailer and serves about 8 million customers a week in the UK and Ireland.
What data do they collect on you?
Some examples of the data Boots collects on you include:
- Name, address, age, gender and contact details
- Adverts you may click on (including those shown on other organisations’ websites)
- Purchases and browsing behaviour
- Which emails you open from Boots, and what links you click on.
- (From the pharmacy) appointment information and prescriptions
- (If you opt in to marketing) information posted publicly on social media, to understand what customers think and feel about Boots
Do they share your data with third parties for advertising purposes?
Boots analyse your data to ‘maximise the effectiveness of [their] advertising’.
‘These cookies are used to deliver adverts more relevant to you and your interests...this information is shared with other organisations such as advertisers’.
We do know that Boots share data with ‘social media platforms such as Facebook’, but that’s about it unfortunately.
We also found a pretty alarming statement on the Boots website:
‘In the coming months we will be providing you with extra control, by giving you the option to consent to cookies when you visit Boots-uk.com.’
We feel like this should already be in place, especially for such a widely used company.
Have they made any big data-related headlines?
Yes. A pretty recent one.
In 2020, the BBC reported on Boots’ suspension of payments using loyalty points after a cyber-attack attempted to break into customers' accounts using stolen passwords
You might be wondering why we’re having a look at the data-related headlines of a company. Well, we think it can be pretty insightful- although above all we value the privacy of your data, we think the security of your data is also extremely important. What’s the point in private data if anyone can get hold of it and use it however they want anyway?
So, it could be a good idea to take into consideration any major data-breaches of a company before allowing them to collect your data. But, please also take these headlines with a pinch of salt. Just because something is or isn’t in the news doesn’t mean a company is necessarily better or worse with data protection: not all data breaches are reported on or even detected.
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