UK Web shoppers wise up to online fraud

UK Web shoppers wise up to online fraud

Media coverage of cybercrime has changed the way Brits shop online, according to research released by e-payment outfit Cybersource which found that customers are now taking more security precautions when purchasing items via the Web.

The GfK NOP poll of 1002 adults found that media coverage of cybercrime has made people more suspicious.

Over half (54%) of online shoppers say they now take "more precautions" when buying over the Internet, while the vast majority of those polled - 84% - say they know to look for signs that the page is secure before submitting personal and financial details.

Almost a quarter of consumers (24%) think retailers should be primarily responsible for making online shopping safer. The survey also found that, possibly due to security fears, 82% of consumers now only shop online with "reputable name retailers".

Simon Stokes, managing director, CyberSource, says news coverage of cyber fraud does "cause alarm" amongst consumers. But if this is causing them to be more careful in their online buying, then "the outcome is fine", he adds.

However the research also found that as many as a third of consumers have not changed their habits to improve security, despite the continued press coverage of cybercrime.

"As an industry we need to focus on educating the online consumer," adds Stokes. "A significant percentage of cybercrime today can be avoided by relatively simple precautions such as never giving out personal information in response to an e-mail."

But the research suggests that there is still plenty of scope for growth in the e-commerce market - more than half of those questioned by GfK NOP have never shopped online.

However, separate figures released by Nielsen earlier this week shows that more than 85% of the world's active Internet population has shopped via the Web, increasing the online shopping market by 40% in the past two years.

Among Internet users, the highest percentage shopping online is found in South Korea, where 99% of those with Internet access have used it to shop. However the UK comes second in the table with 97%, followed by Germany (97%) and Japan (97%). The US came in eighth place with 94%.

The Nielsen survey on Internet shopping habits shows that globally, more than half of Web users have made at least one purchase online in the past month.

Bruce Paul, VP, customised research, Nielsen US, says when Nielsen conducted its first global survey into Internet shopping trends two years ago, approximately 10% of the world's population - 627 million people - had shopped online.

Within two years, this number has increased by approximately 40%, to 875 million, he says.

Books are the most popular online purchase, with 41% of Internet users purchasing books via the Web in the past month. Around 35% purchased clothing, accessories and shoes, while 24% bought videos, DVDs and games from e-retailers in the past month.

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