European online Christmas shoppers prioritise bargains, not security

Source: Websense

Websense (NASDAQ: WBSN), a global leader in Web security and Web filtering productivity software, today announced the results of its first European study of online Christmas shopping behaviour.

The survey found that whilst 75% of online Christmas shoppers were not totally confident about being able to identify a secure Web site, only one in four considered keeping their credit card and online banking information safe and secure as their greatest concern. In fact, the e-shoppers' biggest worry of all (39%) was whether their gifts would actually arrive on time. The Websense survey, conducted by Dynamic Markets surveyed a total of more than 1000 respondents from the three major shopping capitals of Europe - London, Paris and Milan.

A total of 36% of respondents across the region considered Internet bargain-hunting to be the overriding factor in deciding which Web site to make their online purchase. Of the e-shoppers surveyed, 35% admitted to not always checking for the security padlock, with almost one fifth (18%) of these being unaware of what to look for. More women (80%) than men (70%) were not totally confident in spotting a secure Web site from an unsecured one. A further 17% were totally oblivious to current security threats, believing Christmas shopping online is safe and secure and that they would not worry about it. Interestingly, only 30% of those who shop freely trust their anti-virus software to protect their personal and banking details.

In fact, 83% of those surveyed used both their work PC as well as their home computer, with a third doing their shopping at work. The research also established that 54% of bargain hunters in the workplace had neglected to ask their IT department if their PC was protected.

2006 Christmas Survey Results:
  • COST CONSCIOUS: Londoners and Parisians were more likely to take the risk of visiting unknown Web sites in the search for a bargain (42% & 46% respectively), compared to shoppers in Milan (20%)
  • CONFUSION: Shoppers in Milan were the least confident in their ability to identify a secure Web site (89%) compared to Londoners (67%) and Parisians (69%)
  • MEN MORE CONFIDENT THAN WOMEN: Generally less men worry about Internet security than women with 30% feeling completely confident they can identify a secure Web site vs. 20% of women
  • BARGAIN HUNTERS: More women than men shop from well-known online retailers (51% vs. 41%) while 39% of men (vs. 33% women) bargain hunt around the net and don't mind what site they buy from
  • BRAND BELIEVERS: Shoppers in Milan were more likely to limit their online shopping to the trusted sites of big, well-known retailers (54%), than those in London (44%) and Paris (40%)
  • LAST MINUTE RUSH: Gifts arriving on time posed the highest on-line shopping concern across all three regions with Parisians (46%) most concerned compared to Londoners (33%) and the Milanese (38%)
  • RETURN TO SENDER: Londoners are the least concerned with Internet security across the capitals, even placing the hassle of sending things back (21%) as a higher priority than security
  • RISK-TAKERS: Parisians and Londoners were more likely to look beyond the trusted sites of big, well-known retailers to find the item they desired (60% and 56% respectively) than Milan (46%).
  • TRUST IN THE WORKPLACE: Over half (58%) believe there is more chance of keeping their credit card details safe using their home PC rather than their work PC. The Milanese were more likely to think that their work PC is safer (34%) compared to Londoners (17%) and Parisians (15%).


"Online shopping at Christmas is a balancing act for consumers," said Mark Murtagh, EMEA Technical Director at Websense. "This is a time of year where people are so busy that they can overlook potential web security risks in the hunt for the perfect bargain. Traditionally, we see a jump in Web sites hosting malicious code in the weeks leading up to major events as cyber-criminals look to exploit the increased number of online shoppers that have their credit cards at the ready. We've seen a number of new and more sophisticated deceptions emerge throughout this year and users need to educate themselves to look out for potential security pitfalls."

About the Sample:

The sample size of this international research was 1053 respondents from 3 countries. In detail, 350 consumers aged 16 or more in each of the three major shopping cities in Europe (London, Milan and Paris) were interviewed and asked 9 tick-box quantitative questions. The survey was hosted between17th to 23rd November, 2006.

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