The majority of American online shoppers may be set to limit their purchases from retail web sites this year due to fears associated with the misuse of personal information, according to new research from privacy certification provider TRUSTe and market research firm TNS.
Online shopping plans
Most internet users (82%) said they plan to conduct some online holiday shopping, while 13% said they never shop online. A small number (6%) who reported having shopped online in the past said they had decided against doing so in the 2006 holiday season due to privacy concerns.
And among those who planned to make purchases on the web for the 2006 holiday season, 63% said they planned to limit their purchasing because of concerns associated with the potential misuse of their personal information. A more worrying 20% of all e-shoppers surveyed said that privacy-related fears could limit their online shopping "to a large extent".
Top e-retail barriers
The top five factors that would limit or prevent consumers from shopping online for the holiday season were:
- Identity theft (44%);
- Credit card theft (34%);
- Prefer "touch and feel" of bricks-and-mortar stores (30%);
- Spyware (29%);
- Spam (28%).
The survey noted that online consumers take privacy protection seriously, as 43% said they will not purchase from a web site or give out personal information online unless the site displays a privacy statement or privacy seal.
"Online holiday shopping will continue to grow as consumers become increasingly internet-savvy, but it's clear that consumer trust impacts purchasing behaviour," said Fran Maier, executive director for TRUSTe. "Promotions such as free shipping may be effective in attracting new online shoppers, but it's vital for retailers to communicate their trustworthiness to consumers."
Size matters, too
Among e-shoppers, more than one in three (35%) said they are less willing to purchase from smaller online retailers. Sixty-nine percent of these shoppers cited concerns associated with misuse of personal information as a deterrent to purchasing from smaller retailers (as compared to larger, better-known online brands).