Online shopping continues to flourish. In 2020, consumers alone spent USD 4.29 trillion online – an increase of around 24 per cent compared to the previous year. No trend reversal is in sight, and Germany is among the ten biggest e-commerce markets worldwide. At the same time, internet users in Germany are very concerned about the security of their personal data online, as Nevis found out in a study that examined a range of questions, including what reasons consumers gave for their concerns. Nevis also gained insights into the key criteria that cause customers to trust a website in spite of their concerns. The Nevis Security Barometer 2021 contains a brief summary of selected, additional results of the study.
In cooperation with online market research institute mo'web research, Nevis surveyed 1,000 German consumers aged 14 and over in April 2021 for this representative study. Among the main topics addressed were consumer trust in online security and their views on passwordless authentication. Around 95 per cent, or virtually all respondents, indicated that they were either 'somewhat concerned', 'concerned' or 'very concerned' about the security of their personal information. When asked why they could choose from a range of suggested reasons, the most frequently cited reason was the disclosure of their data to third parties, with almost three quarters of those surveyed agreeing on this point. What may come as a surprise in Germany is that 'concerns about state surveillance' was the second most frequent choice, with 35 per cent of responses. This was followed by frequent use of mobile devices with 31 per cent and frequent use of social media channels with 26 per cent of the 'yes' responses.
What makes a website trustworthy?
Secure online transactions
These days, customers can complete numerous sensitive transactions online – with banks, government agencies and insurance companies. They also want to do the same with online retailers, who face the enormous challenge of offering an exceptional customer experience in a rapidly expanding market. In this regard, security is part and parcel of a positive shopping experience. First and foremost, providers must build trust. This is why the participants in the study were asked which criteria would encourage them to trust a website and share their personal data with the website operator.
For almost 64 per cent of consumers, an encrypted website is a decisive factor. The entire online shopping process must take place using an encrypted HTTPS connection – from the start to the completed transaction.
Quality seals and certificates
Around 52 per cent of private individuals surveyed trust quality seals and certificates. This shows that consumers attach great importance to active consumer protection — official certificates and confirmation of one's own verified identity help seal the deal. The provision of detailed information in the legal notice reinforces this.
Another result of the study shows that consumers attach great importance to security based on the latest technology. A simple and convenient login. This is where online retailers need to raise their game. A customer and identity access management system (CIAM) makes processing user data as simple as possible and kills two birds – convenience and security – with one stone.
Additional layers of protection with two- or multi-factor authentication
With processes such as two-factor or multi-factor authentication (2FA and MFA) and the option of passwordless logins, modern CIAM solutions meet consumer demands for trustworthiness, security and user-friendliness. The advantage of 2FA or MFA is that two or more factors are required to verify a user's identity. These types of identification factors can be summarised in three categories: knowing, having and being. Security increases with the number of factors used.
Passwordless logins make it possible to secure data with biometric characteristics instead of a password. At the end of the day, passwords always entail an element of risk. For instance, many of the study participants revealed that they share this critical information with family and friends or use the same password for multiple accounts. With solutions for password-free authentication as part of a CIAM, online retailers can avoid this risk. Apart from the fact that biometric identification features are extremely convenient for users – they are always available and cannot be forgotten – they have the additional advantage of being 'unhackable'.
CIAM gives operators of e-commerce shops yet another technology for building trust along with encryption.
Incidentally, Nevis has included a summary of additional insights gained from the consumer study and a survey of 500 IT decision-makers covering all aspects of IT and login security in the 'Nevis Security Barometer 2021'.