How will GDPR regulations impact on the UK’s retail sector?

gdpr compliance

While those of an anti-EU bent and so-called remainers continue to debate the semantics of Brexit, the process of leaving the European Union continues to have a practical impact in the UK.

This week saw Jaguar Land Rover become the latest brand to cull jobs due to Brexit headwinds, for example, with around 1,000 positions lost in the West Midlands after a sustained slump in sales and the ongoing uncertainty surrounding diesel cars.

This trend is set to continue, with the EU set to enforce new data protection legislation in the form of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on May 25th. With the UK not scheduled to leave the EU until March 29th, 2019 at the earliest, this could have a huge impact on British retailers and their ability to trade effectively.

How Might the GDPR Impact on UK Retailers?

Until Britain leaves the EU, it will continue to be impacted by any laws and directives that are passed in Brussels. This includes the GDPR, which will replace the Data Protection Act of 1998 and has been created to tackle the core security and privacy issues that exist in the digital age.

This means that all UK firms must understand and comply with the terms of the GDPR in time for the May 25th deadline, which is now scarcely six weeks away and beginning to loom large on the business economy.

Retailers are most at risk of being affected, as firms of this ilk rely on huge swathes of consumer data to target relevant segments, leverage relevant marketing channels and ultimately optimise sales conversion. So, if firms are to successfully utilise the data set they’ve already accumulated, they’ll need to guarantee compliance with the GDPR immediately, with customers poised to govern compliance by monitoring and reporting misuse of their personal information.



The issue here is that 71 per cent of British retailers are struggling to meet the stringent terms of the GDPR, thanks primarily to the complexities of modern IT services and the sheer volume of data that needs to be managed. In fact, just 38 per cent say that they’re able to locate all of an individual’s personal data quickly, and this could put brands in the firing line of the EU.

The Last Word

This is something that firms will want to avoid at all costs, with potential fines of around €20 million (£15.3 million to you and me) or 4% of turnover threatened for non-compliance.

When you also consider the potential legal costs of data breaches and the need to hire legislation experts such as DWF Law to resolve disputes, businesses can ill-afford to be caught off-guard come May 25th.

Given this, the fact that 77 per cent of UK retailers do not yet have a comprehensive GDPR strategy in place should serve as a wake-up call to brands, who must act quickly and revise their use of data if they’re to avoid considerable sanctions.