Privacy Concerns Hamper E-Commerce Globally: Report

While nearly half of global Internet users say a lack of trust in various institutions keeps them from shopping online, the regions where people are most likely to avoid e-commerce are the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, according to a new report commissioned by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). Thirteen percent of those polled said they are making fewer e-commerce purchases than last year because they are concerned about privacy. The Canada-based think tank examined online privacy concerns around the world in a report it unveiled in Geneva this week at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD) E-Commerce Week.

And, while 82 percent named cyber criminals as a top source of their lack of trust in the Internet, 74 percent identified the Internet companies who are enabling access (and, consequently, commerce) as a top source, followed closely by governments (65 percent). Buying things online, however, has never been easier for most. Forty-two percent of those polled globally said it is easier to buy online in 2016 than it was last year compared to 9 percent who say it is harder.

E-commerce payment via mobile device will continue to grow, especially in the emerging economies of Asia where they have already seen success. In China, India and Indonesia, 86 percent of those polled said they expect to make mobile payments on their phone in the next year. The slowest growth of m-commerce will be in France, Germany and Japan, where less than 30 percent say they will make a payment using their phone.

“The lifeblood of the Internet is trust, and when that is damaged, the consequences for the digital economy are nearly irreparable,” said Director of CIGI’s Global Security & Politics program Fen Osler Hampson. “The results of this global survey offer a glimpse into why policymakers should be concerned, and why there is a strong link between user trust and the health of e-commerce.”


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