Published:Dec 19, 2023

Digital democracy|Digital privacy

Holiday tech gifts: how data-hungry are they?

As tech gadgets continue to rise in popularity as Christmas gifts, this study analyzes the data collection practices of apps associated with these gadgets. We analyzed 12 apps from 4 different categories: smartwatches, headphones, e-readers, and gaming devices. Let's uncover how data-hungry these popular gifts under your tree really are.

Key insights

  • All 12 analyzed apps collect user data. Even though none of these apps claims to track data in a way where the user could be identified, 11 out of 12 apps gather different types of data linked to the user's identity, such as name, address, phone number, and general location.
  • Within the four tech gift categories, smartwatch apps emerge as the biggest data collectors, registering an average of 17 data points out of 32. The Health and Fitness app from Fitbit stands out by collecting 19 data points, equivalent to 60% of the available data, and this data is directly tied to the user.
  • The e-reader apps trail closely behind, collecting data on half of all available categories on average. Leading this group is the Amazon Kindle app, which gathers information on 17 categories directly linked to the user.
  • On the flip side, the apps that come with smart headphones are minimal data collectors, especially regarding user-linked data. Base Connect and Sony Headphones Connect apps collect 3 and 5 data points linked to the user, respectively. In contrast, the JBL Headphones app stands out for its distinct approach, as it refrains from collecting any data linked to the user.

Methodology and sources

For this study, we selected 12 apps that are essential for the device's functionality, enhance the user experience, or offer similar functions as the gadget itself. These apps belong to 4 popular tech gift categories. The information on data collected for each app was sourced from its Apple App Store page on December 12, 2023. The App Store provides a list of 32 unique data points categorized into 12 unique data point categories.¹ In this study, we analyzed the data according to the number, type, and handling of the data points collected by each app. User-linked data refers to information that links to a user's identity via their account, device, or other personal details.

For the complete research material behind this study, visit here.

Data was collected from:

Apple (2023). Apps’ standartized privacy policies.


¹ Apple (2023). Apps’ standartized privacy policies.
The team behind this research:About us