Online Privacy Concerns on the Rise for Almost 6 in 10 Internet Users Globally

April 28, 2016

This article is included in these additional categories:

Asia-Pacific | Digital | Europe & Middle East | Financial Services | Global & Regional | Privacy & Security | Retail & E-Commerce

CIGIIpsos-Internet-Users-Growing-Privacy-Concerns-Apr2016Some 57% of global consumers say they are either much more (31%) or somewhat more (26%) concerned with their online privacy compared to a year ago, find the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and Ipsos in a survey of more than 24,000 internet users aged 16-64 across 24 countries (18-64 in the US and Canada). Indeed, at least half of internet users in each region said that their privacy concerns have grown.

More than 8 in 10 respondents have changed their online behavior, most commonly by avoiding opening emails from unknown email addresses (55%) and by cutting down on the amount of biographically accurate information they divulge online (39%). Additionally, more than 1 in 5 said that they are conducting fewer transactions online (23%; 21% in the US) and making fewer online purchases (21%; 17% in the US). Those are interesting findings in light of the growth of both mobile banking and digital commerce spending in the US.

The report also contains some interesting results pertaining to the Internet of Things, which is expected to have a strong impact on marketing strategy in the years to come. Almost 8 in 10 respondents are concerned that their information may be monitored (78%) and are worried about a lack of privacy as a result of having so much information about them available on the internet (79%). It’s important to view those results in context, though: the lead-in question asked of respondents was: “Increasingly, more and more items are connected to the internet, including phones and other things you might not be aware of, such as cars and other electronic devices. Thinking about this, to what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements…”

Nevertheless, consumers’ privacy concerns seem unlikely to abate. In survey results from TRUSTe and the National Cyber Security Alliance released early this year, 92% of US internet users reportedly worry about their privacy online, with 45% more worried about their online privacy than a year ago. Roughly 3 in 4 reported having limited their online activity during the prior year due to privacy concerns. Such concerns have led 51% not to click an online ad, 32% to not download an app or product and 28% to stop an online transaction.

Of note, US consumers’ top cause of concern for their privacy online is companies collecting and sharing their personal information with other companies (37%). To lower their concerns, the most favored methods are companies being more transparent about how they are collecting and using data (35%) and having more easy-to-use tools available to protect their personal information (35%).

About the Data: The survey was conducted by Ipsos on behalf of the Centre for International Governance Innovation (“CIGI”) between November 20 and December 4, 2015. The survey was conducted in 24 countries ”” Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey and the United States ”” and involved 24,143 internet users. In the US and Canada respondents were aged 18-64, and 16-64 in all other countries. Approximately 1000+ individuals were surveyed in each country and are weighted to match the online population in each country surveyed.

The TRUSTe/National Cyber Security Alliance U.S. Consumer Privacy Index research was conducted by Ipsos using an online survey among a representative quota sample of 1,000 adults aged 18-75 in the US from December 17-22, 2015.

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