Online shopping safety: Consumers hold retailers responsible

Almost a quarter (24%) of UK adults believe retailers are primarily responsible for making online shopping safer, according to a survey of 1004 consumers by CyberSource. This sentiment has not changed since 2007. Significantly, only 12% of consumers state that they are personally responsible.

Sixteen percent of respondents feel that banks are answerable, whilst 12% believe their ISPs are responsible. The same percentage said the government or the card schemes are accountable. Only 5% of respondents feel the police own responsibility for making online shopping safer.

The survey revealed that UK online shoppers are taking measures to protect themselves. Eighty-five percent of respondents say they look for signs that the payment page is secure, such as the green address bar; the same percent prefer to buy online from reputable retailers. 3D Secure schemes (Verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode) are being used by 69% of respondents, whilst card reader usage increased slightly in 2009 – in all, 29% of consumers now utilise such devices as part of their online banking process.

Third consecutive year: Half of UK consumers still not shopping online
Fifty percent of UK consumers (aged 16+) still do not buy online, representing a large untapped market. This figure has only declined slightly since the first survey in 2007. The non-buyers cite several reasons in the survey – 67% say they prefer the high street experience. 41% say they are concerned about online security, and 36% say they don’t have internet access. When looking at the total sample, 71% are concerned about the level of risk when purchasing online, up from 66% in 2008 – so their perception of online shopping as a safe activity is not improving.

The primary motivator for those who do shop on the internet, according to the survey, is to save time and hassle (83%). Other significant reasons include immediate access to a wide range of products and services (73%) and greater cost savings (61%). Interestingly, 76% of these consumers say that they would never use a mobile phone to make purchases.

Uncertainty surrounds payment data security
Sixty-eight percent of consumers who shop online said they trust retailers with their personal details and payment information. In direct contrast, when looking at all consumers (including those who do not buy online), 59% are not comfortable with retailers storing their credit card details. This may, in part, be due to media coverage; survey respondents hear more negative stories about the safety of shopping online (59%) than positive news (46%).

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