Cyber attacks impact purchasing behavior

As U.S. consumers head to malls and retail websites this holiday season, they do so increasingly concerned about the safety and security of their personal information. In fact, according to KPMG, more than half of consumers are either unsure or not confident at all in the security of their personal information when shopping both in-store (58 percent) and online (63 percent).

This sentiment is expected to impact holiday shopping behavior, with more than a quarter of consumers (27 percent) indicating they will only shop at a store that previously experienced a cyber-attack if they cannot find the product elsewhere, and 8 percent refusing to shop at these stores all together.

“Retail executives need to first and foremost protect the brand and ensure that cyber security is prioritized based on the evolving threats of today and the risk of the company,” said Tony Buffomante, Partner and retail cyber security lead at KPMG. “Cyber-security isn’t just a retailer’s IT department issue anymore – it has become a Board room issue.”

According to the survey, consumer holiday spending overall is expected to be relatively flat, with approximately two-thirds of U.S. consumers planning to spend about the same as they did last year, with the remaining one-third split fairly evenly between those who expect to spend more (15 percent) and those spending less (18 percent).

As to how they will purchase, 65 percent expressed that they will do so in-store, while 51 percent said online. Eighty-eight percent of the respondents who identified they will be shopping online this holiday season will do so from home.

Primary research for KPMG’s 2014 Holiday Shopping Survey was conducted in November 2014. Approximately 1,400 U.S. consumers participated in an online-survey consisting of 31 questions, with topics ranging from general consumer shopping, to 2014 holiday shopping habits and cyber-security and personal data protection.