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June 30, 2009

Security fears affect online purchasing habits
Economy not changing how we shop online

The economic downturn has not affected the way consumers shop online, according to a study released today by McAfee, Inc. and conducted by Harris Interactive.

Seventy-two per cent of consumers said the economy has not changed the way they shop online. Instead, fears about online security and personal information are the biggest drivers behind terminated online sales. Nearly half of consumers have terminated an order or abandoned their shopping cart due to security fears. Even in an attempt to get a good deal, 63 per cent won't purchase from a site that does not display a trustmark or security policy.

“Online retailers need to understand that consumers with intent to purchase are terminating their orders because they don't feel safe online,” said Tim Dowling, vice president of McAfee's Web Security Group. “Our research suggests that economic concerns and price have not affected the way people shop online, but instead security concerns are the driving force behind whether a transaction is completed or terminated. All Web sites, regardless of size, need to take measures to prove to customers that their personal information will be safe and secure when doing business online.”

Consumers expect trustmarks

There are a growing number of consumers that now demand trustmarks and refuse to shop on sites that don't display them. The Harris Interactive research revealed that one in five consumers refuse to purchase from a site that does not display a trustmark. To assuage consumer fears, e-tailers can prove their security measures and build trust with consumers by displaying a trustmark; in fact, about 60 per cent of consumers feel safer when shopping on sites with a trustmark.

Leveling the playing field for small e-tailers

The study also showed that, while all online retailers, regardless of size, need to demonstrate their security measures to customers, trustmarks can be a particularly important tool for smaller companies to equalize against their larger competitors. More than 90 per cent of consumers are concerned about their security when shopping on new or unknown Web sites, and 47 per cent of consumers look for trustmarks to feel safe when shopping on a lesser known site. By displaying a trustmark, the lesser known site can prove credibility to potential customers and gain market share from larger sites. In fact, one-third of consumers would rather buy from a smaller Web site with a trustmark than a larger, more well-known e-tailer.

“Our research shows that trustmarks begin to level the playing field for new and lesser known sites,” said Dowling. “For these sites, trustmarks like McAfee SECURE are necessary to build trust so customers will feel confident that their personal information is safe.”

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