While the retail sector has become increasingly sensitive to security concerns and the potential harm they could do to customer relationships, only 19% of internet users surveyed by Blumberg Capital said fears about hacking episodes and stolen data had forced them to cut back on online spending, according to an eMarketer report.
The results appear to be in line at least to previous surveys in the last year — one by KPMG and the other by Thales Group — that suggested widely reported incidents of online retailers being hacked did not cause consumers to change their online shopping habits.
About 33% of those surveyed said hacking incidents and security concerns caused them to take cautionary steps like choosing not to save their credit card data on e-commerce sites, while about 29% said they were making an effort to change their passwords regularly.
What are we to make of these findings? The most extreme fear online retailers may have had in the wake of of security attacks and data thefts is that people would stop shopping online altogether. The study goes on to note that only 4% of those surveyed took that drastic step, though perhaps that was always pretty unlikely to happen anyway.
If shoppers are greeting hacking episodes with a collective shrug, does that mean that retailers and their partners can do the same? Despite frequent reports that e-commerce hacks have risen sharply, retailers and payment companies have only recently gotten around to investing in better preventive and protective measures. They could reverse course, shirk responsibility and do nothing, but that would have them playing a dangerous game of betting how many more data hacks customers would be willing to put up with.
Also, while the vast majority of customers say they aren't letting security concerns affect their online spending, the notion that at least a third of them shop without saving their credit card details on e-commerce sites is not exactly reassuring. If their credentials aren't saved, doesn't that suggest they are less likely to pay with one of the many digital wallet formats that retailers are embracing to enable faster checkouts and higher conversion rates? And if they aren't saving credentials, how many time do they add items to online shopping carts and then abandon the purchase later because they have second thoughts during the lengthy process of inputting their card data?
It might be helpful to know that security failure aren't affecting customer spending just yet, but that shouldn't distract online retailers and payments firm from what should always be their top aim: Making sure customers have positive — and secure — experiences on their shopping sites.