After an unpredictable 2020, next year will still be a year of uncertainty and change. Despite this uncertainty, Europe will maintain a clear commitment to data protection. As communities, consumers, and businesses leave the pandemic behind, they will embrace a new normal. In Europe, three trends related to data protection will emerge:

  1. Regulatory activity will continue both in terms of enforcement of existing rules and introduction of new standards.
  2. The implications of Brexit will force businesses to adopt new data strategies.
  3. Market dynamics and regulatory activities will determine new customer engagement strategies.

Against this scenario, we predict that:

  • The European Parliament will draft new AI regulation, and it will abandon ePrivacy reform. Due to the pandemic and a change in market conditions, we expect the European Parliament to shift regulatory priorities in 2021. After years in the making, the European Parliament will postpone plans to finally pass its “ePrivacy regulation” in 2021, and the appetite to complete that process will diminish. Meanwhile, Forrester predicts that the European Parliament will finalise a draft for a new EU AI regulation. EU companies need to act to shape their ethical AI approaches and document their efforts.
  • The European Commission will not grant the UK data protection adequacy status. Brexit negotiations are nearing their deadline, and agreement is lacking on many key issues. In 2021, companies will treat the UK as a “third country” for data protection matters, as the UK will take another 12 months to obtain data protection adequacy from the EU. Companies that leverage infrastructure physically located in the UK for storing and/or processing personal data of EU citizens must quickly work on a new strategy.
  • Organisations will invest more in technology to collect zero-party data. Digital advertising is on the brink of major, systematic changes. Values-based customers increasingly look to share their data with companies that embrace privacy as a value and treat data ethically. On top of that, the death of the third-party cookie forces companies to focus more on collecting data directly from customers and rely less on more risky third-party data. In 2021, CMOs will start to make strategic revisions to their ecosystem and will increase their capabilities to collect zero-party data. CMOs must partner with their security, risk, and privacy peers to select the right technology and craft processes that adequately support their objectives.

To understand the major dynamics that will impact European businesses next year, download Forrester’s complimentary Predictions guide.

To dive even deeper into what we see for the coming year, check out our Predictions 2021 complimentary webinar series and engage directly with the analysts who made the predictions.