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37pc of adults do not trust technology companies with information: report

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December 12, 2016

Cybersecurity is of paramount concern for many consumers

Cybersecurity is of paramount concern for many consumers

Consumer technology adoption is no longer an issue for ecommerce retailers, but public concern about cybersecurity may evince a disparity in progress for online outlets, according to a new report from Oliver Wyman.

The report, called Britian’s Digital DNA, produced findings from a survey of over 1,500 consumers in the United Kingdom. They included statistics delineating the hesitance that many users have towards using the internet in certain regards, revealing that 45 percent of British adults are worried about sharing their personal information online.

“The report will most likely affect newcomers to the market with a brand that is not trusted: if retailers have already created a following of loyal customers, these brands will continue to thrive with mobile, unless they do something that creates a rift—giving their consumers a reason to leave them digitally,” said Marci Troutman, CEO of SiteMinis. “The consequences of a rift in this digital age is much more detrimental to brands with social and viral components in play.

“Brands need to protect their relationships like gold as digital moves forward; one loss could mean a fall for even the biggest of brands. Consumers have the power of the people at their fingertips with mobile and can make or break a brand in a matter of hours.”

Cybersecurity concerns
Oliver Wyman’s report sheds light on how adequate consumers believe their cybersecurity options to be. The results show an ambivalence towards current cybersecurity offerings, but also are mixed in consumers’ willingness to act upon their concerns.

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Oliver Wyman reported that 37 percent of respondents are willing to take themselves “off the grid” to protect their privacy, and 45 percent of British adults are worried about sharing their personal information online.

Millennials reported themselves as most in need of a digital detox, with 31 percent of 18–34 year olds actively seeking out opportunities to go offline, compared to only 20 percent of those aged 35–54 and 14 percent of those aged 55-74.

However, 32 percent felt obliged to share personal information in order to navigate modern life, and 54 percent said that they couldn’t live without the internet for more than a day; 12 percent for more than an hour.

Retail consequences
The survey also focused on specific categories of the online experience. The most trusted companies with consumer personal information were listed as: financial institutions, with only 11 percent of respondents reporting not trusting them; healthcare providers or insurers with 13 percent; and car or home insurers at 17 percent.

However retailers will be disappointed to find that they are among the least trusted institutions online, with 37 percent of respondents stating they don’t trust technology companies such as ecommerce sites and search engines. Supermarkets, at 31 percent, and mobile phone operators, at 27 percent, were also widely distrusted.

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“The retail consequences of Oliver Wyman’s report could have an effect for a period of time, while millennials discover whether or not the digital detox is something they wish to continue,” Ms. Troutman said. “Likely the scare of an announcement that the government will be widening its digital surveillance powers will subside in a matter of months and the millennials, who are already on the digital grid and most likely have been there the bulk of their lives, will realize digital is the way of the future making this report only a brief downturn in retail.”

A number of recent political developments, from the UK’s passing of the Investigatory Powers Act (which widens its government’s digital surveillance powers) to recent allegations of cyberattacks from Russia have made cybersecurity the marquee concern for ecommerce retailers wanting to bolster long term prospects. A recent report from American Express found that 78 percent of are consumers willing to undertake auxiliary measures to ensure online security (see story).

“The main takeaway from this report is that brands shouldn’t fall prey to “fear factors” and should realize in this new digital age consumers will continue to demand the quickest, easiest solutions for their needs,” Ms. Troutman said.

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Rakin Azfar is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York. Reach him at rakin@napean.com.

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