Less than a third of consumers say they plan to shop online for bargains over Black Friday (27 November), one of the biggest shopping days of the year, with the majority (70 per cent) saying they have no plans to do so, according to a survey conducted for global information security and risk management company, NTT Com Security. Less than a quarter (23 per cent) will do ‘some’ shopping online, while just 7 per cent will do ‘most’ or ‘all’ of it online.
The poll of more than 500 UK consumers, explores ‘consumer trust’ in online sites, including retailers, banks, social networks and dating sites, and reveals that two-thirds of users are concerned about the privacy and safety of personal information online, while 69 per cent worry about whether a site might be fake or fraudulent. A third worry about making payments online.
When it comes to online sites that we trust the most, banks top the list, followed by healthcare providers (doctors/hospitals) and insurance companies, while online dating sites are seen as least trustworthy, followed by social networks.
A quarter of users would stop using a site and move to another supplier if the site suffered a security or data breach, while around half (44 per cent) would stop using it until the problem was fixed – however, 11 per cent say they would carry on as normal.
According to the survey respondents, the theft of credit card or other personal information is the biggest threat to privacy online, followed by identity theft, viruses and scam emails.
Stuart Reed, senior director of Global Product Marketing at NTT Com Security, explains: “Retailers and other online businesses take note. Concerns over privacy of personal information and the risk of identity theft are a very real concern for people considering using services and shopping online. Given the sheer number and scale of security breaches and attacks on personal data this year, it’s no surprise that people are focusing on the negatives rather than the positives.
“But opportunities like Black Friday and Christmas come round once a year and retailers should be capitalising on a potential online shopping bonanza. Data privacy and confidence in a site’s ability to protect personal information is integral to consumer trust. So it’s vital that organisations can demonstrate this by doing the basics well – ensuring they have the right security processes, procedures and responses, and engaging with customers to help build awareness and show them that the necessary security and privacy levels are in place.”
Six tips to staying safe online:
- Never hand out personal or financial details to those sending emails asking for them, even if they look genuine (known as ‘phishing’) – and keep a close eye on your bank statements
- Avoid unknown or dodgy-looking websites – check websites are secure by looking for the https prefix to URLs
- Online payments – look out for a padlock symbol in the browser or use safe payment systems like PayPal. If you pay by credit card (and the item is worth more than GBP 100 and less than GBP 30,000) you are protected by the Consumer Credit Act and the credit card company is liable.
- Use multi-factor authentication – many banks and now shopping sites offer free security software as well as PIN code devices to build up multi-layered security
- Make sure you access shopping or banking sites from secure devices only and over secure connections – and only download shopping apps from reputable or official sites
- Good password hygiene – ensure you use different passwords for different accounts, make them hard for hackers to guess and don’t write them down!
The NTT Com Security ‘Consumer Trust’ survey was conducted by SurveyMonkey over the weekend of 14-16 November 2015 among 526 respondents (UK consumers who go online). The split was 51% female/49% male and split evenly across four age groups: 18-29/30-44/45-60/60+.
The Centre for Retail Research estimates sales for this year’s Black Friday, which falls on 27 November, to touch GBP 1.39bn. Research firm Experian and e-retail industry association IMRG expect online sales to climb to GBP 1.07bn. Black Friday was brought to the UK by Amazon five years ago. By 2014, UK shoppers spent GBP 1 million every three minutes on Black Friday, resulting in total sales of over GBP 800 million that day and a jump in store traffic of 23 per cent.