Online Security Concerns Drive Holiday Shoppers to Small Businesses: Report

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Security concerns are driving consumers towards small businesses in their online shopping, according to the 2014 Web.com Consumer & Small Business Perception Survey, released Tuesday. Sixty-nine percent of consumers surveyed said they were concerned about security and privacy when shopping online, and 65 percent said they are influenced by those concerns to shop more online with small businesses.

Web.com surveyed over 3,000 people, one-third of who represent small businesses, to compile the second annual report.

The reason security concerns are influencing consumers towards small business is that more than twice as many are more concerned about the safety of shopping with a large retailer (27 percent) than a small one (12 percent). Since 25 percent said they are likely to change their online shopping behaviour, and an additional 32 percent indicated they might change it, the survey results should soon be born out in sales results.

The survey also indicated that small businesses are increasingly savvy and experienced with web and digital tools.

“Small businesses have an opportunity to think even more strategically about their online and digital presence through the lens of what value they can bring their customers—whether in the form of money, efficiency or security,” said David Brown, chairman and CEO of Web.com. “In order to gain consumer confidence, small business owners have become more thoughtful and serious about managing their online presence and making the necessary security measures to keep their customers’ data safe.”

Online holiday shopping continues to grow, with 62 percent saying they would shop on and offline equally this holiday season, while an additional 16 percent said they would do more online shopping.

The survey results are consistent with the results of a September report released by the University of Phoenix, indicating that identity theft and personal cybersecurity are the crimes most feared by online respondents.

High profile breaches have been revealed at several large retailers this year, including Home Depot, which revealed last week it had lost more customer data than originally thought. Several states announced in May that they would probe a massive data breach at eBay.

The fallout for mobile shopping of the recent CurrentC hack will be tested with the imminent arrival of the holiday online shopping season.

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