Security fears are stunting the growth of e-commerce in the UK, with refusenik consumers citing media scare stories and personal accounts of online credit card fraud as reasons for not shopping on the Web.
More than half the UK population still does not shop online, according to a survey of 1000 consumers undertaken by tech security outfit, CyberSource. Reasons range from simple preference for high street shopping to lack of a computer or Internet access. However, 41% of people who don't shop online also cite security fears as a cause for concern.
The study found that the most common source of information about the safety of online shopping is stories in the media. But consumers also rely on friends and family for advice. About a third of survey respondents say that they or someone they know has been a victim of online credit card fraud.
"With the abundance of media coverage about security breaches, it is not surprising that some shoppers are frightened off," says Simon Stokes, managing director of CyberSource. "The challenge to the industry is educating consumers to shop safely, to minimise their exposure to fraud."
Those who have sampled the online shopping experience are taking basic precautions, the survey found, with 68% signed up for the MasterCard SecureCode or Verified by Visa programmes, 57% restricting their spending to credit cards, and 86% seeking out the secure padlock icon on a Website before proceeding with a purchase.