Security Fears Reduce Online Shopping

"If people's worries about security of personal information were eased, the pool of online shoppers would be greater."

by / February 14, 2008

Most online Americans view online shopping as a way to save time and a convenient way to buy products. At the same time, most Internet users express discomfort over a key step in online shopping -- sending personal or credit card information over the Internet. According to the Pew Internet Project's September 2007 survey:

  • 78 percent of online Americans agree that shopping online is convenient.
  • 68 percent of online Americans say they think online shopping saves them time.

Dampening people's ardor for using the Internet to shop is worry over the security of the Internet as a place to purchase products. The September 2007 survey also shows that:

  • Three-quarters (75 percent) of Internet users agree with the statement that they do not like sending personal or credit card information over the Internet.

"These inconsistent notions about the online shopping environment show that, even as e-commerce matures, people's confidence in the security of online shopping remains as an issue," said John B. Horrigan, associate director of the Pew Internet Project and author of the report. "If people's worries about security of personal information were eased, the pool of online shoppers would be greater."

The report, entitled "Online Shopping: Internet users like the convenience but worry about the security of their financial information," finds that two-thirds (66 percent) of online Americans have at one time bought a product online. If online Americans did not have such high levels of concern about sending personal or credit card information over the internet, the report estimates that the share of Internet users buying products online could be as much as 3 percentage points higher, or 69 percent.

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