Half UK's e-commerce revenue lost to fear

Would you put your credit card details online? Concerns over security are costing billions as online muggings continue
Written by Graeme Wearden, Contributor

Concerns over consumer confidence in eBritain were confirmed Thursday with IDC speculating that continued security scares will cost the UK up to £3bn this year, exactly half its predicted e-commerce revenue.

The speculation is backed up by research to show that fears over security online are the number one factor preventing users from shopping online.

Stefan Elmer, Internet analyst at IDC's European Internet Group, believes that Internet security breaches have the most profound effect on consumer confidence. "These incidents are the online equivalent of a street mugging, and people get scared," he says. "The chance of someone actually misusing your credit card details is very small but this is a matter of user confidence."

A recent IDC survey of surfers who refuse to shop online found that 20 percent (the highest proportion) were most concerned about security. "We expect e-commerce revenue in the UK to total 4.4bn Euros (£3bn) in the year 2000. If people were totally secure about e-commerce security, I believe that figure would double", he said.

Alan Stevens, head of digital services at the Consumer Association, agrees with IDC and emphasises the damage that has been caused to e-commerce in the UK by monthly security scandals.

Another survey , by Which? Online, discovered that 51 percent of Net users will not shop online, a figure that rose to 62 percent for women surfers. Fears over security once again proved telling.

Stevens agreed that Powergen's security blunder, revealed Wednesday, will have had a damaging and lasting effect on e-commerce growth in Britain.

Will you shop online? Tell the Mailroom

Check out ZDNet's e-Britain undermined News special for a catalogue of events over the last six months.

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