The survey conducted by Ipsos and the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), in collaboration with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the Internet Society, comes in the wake of data breaches and the reported hacking of elections in several European countries.
“The lifeblood of the Internet is trust, and when that is damaged, the consequences for the digital economy are nearly irreparable,” said the director of CIGI’s Global Security & Politics programme, 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 ecommerce”.
Among those who never shop online, the key reason they do not is a lack of trust.
The survey also revealed great differences in ecommerce behaviour when it came to how users are purchasing goods online.
For example, in China, India and Indonesia, more than 86% of respondents expect to make mobile payments on their smartphone in the next year, compared with less than 30% in France, Germany and Japan.
And, 55% of global respondents indicated that they prefer purchasing online goods and services made in their own country.
Propensity to use online payment systems on mobile phones varies greatly by country, with most G-8 countries near the bottom of the list, and emerging economies near the top.
"The survey confirms the importance of having adequate consumer protection and data protection in place, areas where many developing countries are lagging behind," said Shamika N. Sirimanne, director of UNCTAD’s Division on Technology and Logistics.
“More capacity-building is therefore urgently needed,” she said.
“Nearly 50% of Internet users surveyed do not trust the Internet and this lack of trust is affecting the way they use it. The findings of this year’s CIGI-Ipsos survey underscore the importance of taking action now to build stronger online trust by addressing users’ concerns and using technologies such as encryption to secure communications,” said Sally Wentworth, Vice President of Global Policy for the Internet Society.
Among those worried about their privacy, the top sources of concern were cyber criminals (82%), Internet companies (74%) and governments (65%).
The survey of 24,225 users was conducted between 23 December 2016, and 21 March 2017.
The survey covered Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Hong Kong (China), India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, South Korea, South Africa, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, the UK and the US.
Graphics: courtesy Ipsos and the Centre for International Governance Innovation.