Key Trends To Watch in 2020: Location Data Supply And Compliance

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As we settle into 2020, there are a few trends top of mind for location data buyers. In brief these are: changes to location utilization in Apple’s iOS 13 update; a shift in the location data supply away from background data and to foreground data; and evolving global privacy regulations and the need for compliance.

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Reports: iOS 13 Update Cuts 30%+ of US Data Supply

Apple made it easier than ever for users to opt-out of location data usage in non-Apple applications in its latest iOS 13 update. Now, when users open a 3rd party app that is utilizing location, a notification will pop up that allows the user to disable the function. This has led to a drop in the global supply of mobile location data at the end of 2019.

We expect this trend to continue as more users update their devices and disallow applications that had limited reasons to collect this data in the first place to continue collecting it. Many providers in the industry are reporting a 30%+ drop in their US iOS numbers. At Quadrant, we are holding steady at our pre-iOS 13 update (July 2019) figures with 23 million daily active users (DAUs) in the US. We continue to work with a wide range of quality applications that utilize location data to provide value to their users, as well as data to the ecosystem.


Shift to foreground location data

As a result of the latest OS updates, apps that were previously reliable sources of background location data such as ride-hailing, weather, and navigation apps are no longer so. Many of these apps have seen a decline of background as users opt for one-time share vs persistent background collection.

As an industry, background location data has been the primary focus due to its ease of use and depth of information. But as we settle into 2020, it’s time to prepare for a shift back to foreground location data as it inevitably becomes a primary source for companies doing location analysis.

In the absence of the historic volumes of background data, the layering in of multiple sources will become vital for panel creation that require depth. At Quadrant, we have been working on expanding our publisher ecosystem to ensure a large, deep panel for our data feed solutions. Users of location data will need to update their methods of extracting value and insights from data, rely less on background only sources and layer multiple sources to get a full panel.


Compliance is King in 2020

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), two key policy changes from Europe and the U.S. respectively, will continue to impact the location data industry in the year ahead. Our view is that these changes are positive, represent progress in the right direction as they help clean up the industry, and are to be welcomed by buyers and sellers alike.

At Quadrant we are working hard to be ahead of the curve on the issue of compliancy and data privacy. In 2020 we intend to take compliancy to the next level because we care deeply about this issue and know our customers do too. To that end, we’re going to be releasing the Quadrant Consent Management System (CMS). The CMS will make it easier than ever for legal departments to verify the compliance of the data supply chain.

Overall, the compliance journey for the industry is just getting started and will be one of iteration, likely with overcompensation then normalization. We expect this will likely lead to some consolidation and the global supply of location data may continue to drop for a time as the industry adjusts to the changes and companies who do not have the appetite to become compliant will choose to head for the exits.

As the landscape evolves in 2020, we look forward to working with our partners to ensure a strong, stable panel of compliant location data that has both quality and scale. Please contact us if you would like more details on any of the above or further information on our products and services. Also, let us know if you’ve been affected by any of these issues – we're here to help you fill the gaps in your location data supply.



Mike Davie

CEO of Quadrant

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