Security concerns remain the biggest obstacle to consumer shopping and banking online, according to research from Forrester.
Halfway through 2000, just 24% of online consumers rated the Web secure for sending personal financial information. By the end of the year, this had grown to just 30%.
Although users do become more comfortable with online security over time, Forrester's study shows that this process takes the average consumer four years. This learning curve isn't speeding up now that more people are banking and shopping online. Even the introduction of trademarks and security guarantees has failed to accelerate it.
The message contained in this behavioural finding is that online retailers looking at the active Internet audience in Europe, and hoping to boost their share of the market, should really be looking at how many users were online four years ago for a more realistic depiction of the potential customer-base.
This finding may appear pessimistic, but it does suggest that the market for online retail services will increase beyond saturation of the home Internet access market.
Although Forrester asserts that present efforts to assure users of the security of online transactions have been in vain, it doesn't prove that future initiatives or even sustained marketing programmes will not have a positive effect.
Rating of Internet security
Q4 2001 Q4 2000 Q2 2000
1-6 months 17 19 20
7-12 months 23 24 28
About 2 years 29 31 32
About 3 years 34 35
About 4 years 37 42
5 years or more 42 44 46