The pandemic is pushing previous skeptics of e-commerce to buy online. Just under a third of American consumers avoided online shopping because of possible cybersecurity risks before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report from Generali Global Assistance. Out of those consumers, nearly three-quarters are using their credit cards to shop online more now due to in-store restrictions imposed during the pandemic, according to the report.
Despite those increases, consumers remain concerned about data protection. Two-thirds of shoppers are concerned about potential data breaches over the holiday season and 78% said they would avoid shopping with a retailer that had experienced a breach.
Some retailers are more trusted by consumers than others. Generali Global Assistance found that 40% of shoppers trust big-box retailers the most with their personal data this upcoming holiday shopping season, compared to 36% who feel the same about e-retailers and 22% who trust local small businesses most.
Now that the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed much of consumers' lives online, companies have to be vigilant for new cybersecurity risks that come with the change.
For retailers, the coronavirus has caused many consumers who were wary about shopping online to do so because of brick-and-mortar shopping restrictions, Paige Schaffer, CEO of global identity and cyber protection services at Generali Global Assistance, said in a statement. But despite growing comfortability shopping online, consumers increasingly see the need for identity protection, Schaffer said.
Nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents to the company's survey said they would feel more secure with retailers that offered identity protection services, up from 61% who said the same in 2018, according to the report. Over half (61%) of shoppers said online seller or credit card company data breaches are the greatest threat to their identity, a 14% increase from last year.
Retailers large and small that offer support following data breaches could win favor from consumers, Schaffer added in a statement.
Generali Global Assistance's survey echoes previous reports of growing cybersecurity threats. A 2019 VMWare Carbon Black holiday threat report found that two-thirds of retailers said they were targeted by a ransomware attack during the previous year. Macy's, J. Crew and Wawa are among companies that have suffered data breaches this past year or so.