Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Consumer Confidence In eCommerce Security Drops

According to a study of consumer sentiment toward online shopping and security released today by McAfee (a security system firm wholly owned by Intel)  and conducted by Harris Interactive, 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.

“While consumers are faced with more options than ever for shopping online, it’s clear that one of their biggest concerns – security – remains,” said Steve Petracca, senior vice president of global consumer marketing at McAfee. “It is important for online retailers to recognize, understand and assuage these concerns in order to increase sales and earn trust from their customers.”

Persistent Concerns
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.

Increased Confidence in Trustmarks
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.

McAfee SECURE Service
To address security concerns, survey sponsor McAfee developed the McAfee SECURE trustmark for sale to Web site owners. Sites that display a McAfee SECURE trustmark must pass rigorous daily tests for vulnerabilities that pose a threat to sensitive customer information. McAfee also conducts daily network perimeter scanning, testing for more than 40,000 network and Web application vulnerabilities, security testing to ensure protection against malware, and business practice reviews for Web site owners and online retailers. With the McAfee SECURE service, e-commerce merchants can also demonstrate PCI DSS compliance, the standard for the payment card industry.

The McAfee SECURE trustmark is displayed on more than 80,000 etailer Websites and also in search results enhanced by McAfee® SiteAdvisor® software, allowing merchants to be viewed prominently in those results. A/B testing performed by McAfee in 2009 found that on average sites displaying the McAfee SECURE trustmark saw a 12 percent increase in online sales conversions as compared to those sites that did not.

Pricing is based on the number of IP addresses and page views. For more information, see:

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