Home Internet of Things Lack of trust in Internet privacy deters online shoppers

Lack of trust in Internet privacy deters online shoppers

Internet users in many countries, including Australia, are increasingly concerned about their online privacy, and 49% say lack of trust is the main reason for not shopping online, according to a new global survey.

The survey conducted by Ipsos and the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), in collaboration with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the Internet Society, comes in the wake of data breaches and the reported hacking of elections in several European countries.

“The lifeblood of the Internet is trust, and when that is damaged, the consequences for the digital economy are nearly irreparable,” said the director of CIGI’s Global Security & Politics programme, Fen Osler Hampson.

“The results of this global survey offer a glimpse into why policymakers should be concerned, and why there is a strong link between user trust and the health of ecommerce”.

According to the survey, lack of trust is most likely to keep people off ecommerce platforms in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, which Hampson says suggests that the potential gains of ecommerce are not spread evenly around the globe.

ipsos lack of trust

Among those who never shop online, the key reason they do not is a lack of trust.

The survey also revealed great differences in ecommerce behaviour when it came to how users are purchasing goods online.

For example, in China, India and Indonesia, more than 86% of respondents expect to make mobile payments on their smartphone in the next year, compared with less than 30% in France, Germany and Japan.

And, 55% of global respondents indicated that they prefer purchasing online goods and services made in their own country.

ipsos online mobile

Propensity to use online payment systems on mobile phones varies greatly by country, with most G-8 countries near the bottom of the list, and emerging economies near the top.

"The survey confirms the importance of having adequate consumer protection and data protection in place, areas where many developing countries are lagging behind," said Shamika N. Sirimanne, director of UNCTAD’s Division on Technology and Logistics.

 “More capacity-building is therefore urgently needed,” she said.

“Nearly 50% of Internet users surveyed do not trust the Internet and this lack of trust is affecting the way they use it. The findings of this year’s CIGI-Ipsos survey underscore the importance of taking action now to build stronger online trust by addressing users’ concerns and using technologies such as encryption to secure communications,” said Sally Wentworth, Vice President of Global Policy for the Internet Society.

ipsos trust why

Among those worried about their privacy, the top sources of concern were cyber criminals (82%), Internet companies (74%) and governments (65%).

The survey of 24,225 users was conducted between 23 December 2016, and 21 March 2017.

The survey covered Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Hong Kong (China), India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, South Korea, South Africa, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, the UK and the US.

Graphics: courtesy Ipsos and the Centre for International Governance Innovation.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).