Study: online shopper's low confidence affecting e-commerce

Internet banks and retailers must instil more confidence in their customers that they will be protected against fraud in order to boost the UK's online economy, according to new research from Symantec.

The study, which sought the views of 2,591 consumers, found that more than three-quarters (77 per cent) believe they would be encouraged to spend more money online, if businesses pledged to compensate their customers if they became a victim of fraud or identity theft.

The research also revealed that 66 per cent of those surveyed claim that making transactions on the net puts them at increased risk of internet fraud and 30 per cent agree that web-based security threats prevent them from spending more online.

Further indication that the UK’s internet economy could be much more lucrative, is that almost half of those people questioned (48 per cent) said that they still prefer to shop on the high street rather than online, with security their greatest concern.

“The results from this study clearly demonstrate that consumers are desperate for a confidence boost from the businesses that they are transacting with on the web,” said Lee Sharrocks, consumer sales director for Symantec UK. “Despite the high-levels of online activities, it seems that customers are curtailing their spending because of fears about security.”

According to the report, more than two-thirds of consumers (69 per cent) would feel more comfortable carrying out transactions online if they were given assurance that internet retailers were taking the necessary steps to secure their data. However, only 33 per cent said that they check the credentials of the company before divulging their banking details.

“With an increasing number of services becoming available online and the huge potential for further growth in internet spending, these results demonstrate that businesses need to be aware of what is holding customers back and take steps to boost consumer confidence,” said Richard Archdeacon, director of the innovations team at the security software company.

Furthermore, the research found that more than a third (40 per cent) of customers expect any compensation to come from the online retailer, rather than their bank, and 30 per cent argue that it is also the responsibility of the business they are dealing with to secure their information.

“In the past banks have traditionally been held responsible for compensating fraudulent transactions,” added Archdeacon. “However, these results demonstrate that anyone who sells online needs to take steps to display their security credentials to reassure their customers.”

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