About 30% of consumers surveyed by cybersecurity firm Sitelock say they do not plan to shop online this holiday season due to concerns about how well-protected online shopping sites are from security threats, according to a study emailed to Retail Dive.
That percentage is up about 10 points from last year, which Sitelock attributes to a lack of consumer confidence in retailer's cybersecurity protections — only 18% of those surveyed believe stores have the proper cybersecurity protections in place, per the report.
The threat of a cybersecurity breach can have serious impacts on shopping behavior as well. About 66% of survey respondents said that if their private information was compromised in a data breach, they would no longer shop online or return to that store. Although 70% said that while they worry about their personal information being compromised, they believe they're covered by their credit card, bank or credit tracking.
According to Sitelock, websites experience an average of 63 security attack attempts per day — granted, Sitelock is a cybersecurity firm with a vested interest in selling cybersecurity solutions. While many attacks are repelled, online shoppers don't want a stat like this on their mind while they get ready for Cyber Monday — or, more accurately, retailers don't want shoppers to have this on their minds as they get ready to go online in the coming weeks.
Booz Allen’s Cyber4Sight report, released earlier this month, also highlighted the significance of security concerns during the holiday season — in particular, return and refund fraud, retail and bank account takeover, website outages and point-of-sale breaches. It’s not as if cyber threats are coming out of nowhere. It’s a problem e-commerce sites deal with on a daily basis, and if shoppers are too fearful to shop online during the holidays, it could not only cost retailers serious money, but also serious customers, who might choose not to come back even after the holiday season has ended.
There are ways that online retailers can make shoppers feel more confident. For example, 52% of survey respondents said a store that provides a secure payment network makes them feel more confident. After all, last year there were 15 million victims of identity fraud in the U.S. — a 16% increase from the year before — and shoppers are looking to retailers to protect them against those same threats.
But many retailers have not proven to be especially willing to devote more funding to cyber security protection efforts, even as threats and attacks have increased. They've also been tight-lipped when it comes to disclosing information about attacks. If retailers fail to both protect and communicate with customers, it could lead to a bad reputation and, as a result, poor customer loyalty going forward.