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Personal Info Security Worries Shoppers Online and Offline

Two-thirds of internet users are worried about shopping in stores

September 29, 2015

US internet users remain concerned about the security of their information—especially when that information is in the hands of retailers, according to research from the Associated Press (AP) and GfK.

Level of Concern About Retailers' Ability to Keep Their Personal Info Secure* According to US Internet Users, by Purchase Channel, July 2015 (% of respondents)

Many of those surveyed in July 2015 expressed at least a modicum of concern about personal information security. More than seven in 10 internet users (71%) were at least somewhat concerned about how well retailers could keep their personal information secure when they shopped on a website. Nearly half (45%) were very or extremely concerned.

In-store concern was lower: 66% of internet users were at least somewhat concerned about security when shopping in-store, though only 38% were very or extremely concerned. Still, that leaves a solid two-thirds of web users worried about the most common method of shopping there is to engage in.

A majority of internet users (56%) were at least somewhat concerned about security when purchasing via mobile—which may seem low unless you account for the fact that 26% of respondents did not make mobile purchases, vs. just 8% who didn't make online purchases and 3% who didn't buy in stores. More than a third (36%) were very or extremely concerned, on a par with stores—and, again, more than a quarter of respondents weren't even participating.

Level of Concern About Online Privacy/Security According to US Internet Users, Aug 2015 (% of respondents)

AYTM Market Research found in August that 18% of US internet users were very concerned with online privacy and security, with another 19.7% responding with general concern. Only 5% responded that they were very unconcerned with privacy and security, so the issue is clearly one that affects vast swaths of US internet users whether retailers are involved or not.

A survey conducted by Harris Interactive provides some insight into just what they're worried about. Among the internet users surveyed, 45% cited fears about online hackers gaining access to their social security number, while personal banking information (27%) and credit card numbers (13%) were the next-most-frequent concerns. Only 4% responded that they had no concerns.

With over two-thirds of US internet users concerned about a retailer's ability to keep their personal information secure, the spate of high-profile hackings and identity thefts most likely did nothing to shore up doubts. Still, there aren't really other options for consumers except to stop making purchases. If US internet users are to feel comfortable, vendors both online and in-store certainly need to work to assuage the minds of consumers.


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