Confidence in online retailers sinks

According to a study of consumer sentiment toward online shopping and security by McAfee, only about a third of online consumers believe that most websites are safe for shopping, an 11 percent decrease since McAfee conducted the survey in 2009.

The majority of online consumers, 84 percent, continue to have some level of concern when providing personal information online.

The research showed that online consumers are more concerned about online shopping security than they were in 2009, despite advances in technology and in the popularity of online shopping. In fact, only six percent say they do not worry about security on the Internet.

The survey found that many online consumers would override their concerns about risks if they felt that they were receiving a substantial price discount.

Despite their security concerns, four in 10 consumers admitted to having purchased from sites where they were unsure about the security of their personal information. In those cases, a discount in the 11-30 percent range is what drove them to make a purchase.

At the same time that overall confidence is falling, consumer confidence in trustmarks is growing, especially for consumers shopping on small independent sites. According to security experts, SSL and a trustmark indicating a full privacy and data protection policy are the leading indicators that a site is trustworthy:

  • Seventy-five percent of consumers indicate they would choose a site with a trustmark over a site without one
  • About one third of consumers would choose a small independent site with a trustmark over a larger well-known site when making a purchase
  • Nearly four in 10 consumers indicate they might spend more money online if they had a guarantee of security
  • About one-third of consumers indicate that they might even spend an additional 25 percent or more.

The Consumer Online Shopping survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of McAfee, between May 19 and May 31, among 605 adults, ages 18+, who shop online at least occasionally.

McAfee was not identified as the sponsor of the research. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.

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