Users increasingly willing to abandon digital platforms that demand personal info, stringent passwords and time-consuming forms: study

Nearly 80% of respondents to a Ping Identity survey said they have abandoned or stopped creating an online account for a variety of reasons.

A new survey from Ping Identity has found that more internet users are willing to stop using sites altogether if they find the experience cumbersome or invasive. 

The Ping Identity Consumer Survey queried more than 3,400 consumers across the US, UK, Germany, France and Australia about their experiences with signing up for websites and their attitudes toward online privacy.

The survey found that 77% of respondents have already abandoned or stopped creating an online account for any number of reasons, which included demands for too much personal information (40%) and too many security steps (29%).

More than half of respondents have outright abandoned an online service if they found logging in too frustrating and 63% said they were likely to jump ship for a competitor if they made it easier to authenticate their identity.

Richard Bird, chief customer information officer for Ping Identity, said businesses need to integrate their security, privacy and user experience strategies to keep up with modern consumer expectations. 

"Individuals have no hesitations about finding better experiences elsewhere, so companies that prioritize customer experience now will earn loyalty in the long run," Bird explained. 

Nearly 60% of respondents are OK with the idea of storing their personal information in a digital ID on their smartphone but 46% said they would prefer to use a service or site that offers an alternative to passwords.

Forty four percent said they admittedly use weak passwords, with another 29% saying they only make a small change to an old password. Fifteen percent said they simply reuse an old password. Surprisingly, 40% of respondents said they are not able to answer their security questions at least half the time.

Consumers are also increasingly showing an interest in understanding how websites and online services share their information, with 85% saying they wanted to know how their personal information is shared and 72% noting that it was difficult to find this information. 

For German consumers, the numbers were even higher, with 90% reporting an interest in finding out how companies share their personal information. Nearly 70% of respondents in the US said they have stopped using an online service over privacy concerns. 

More than 70% of respondents have changed their profiles to address privacy issues, and the issue is even more prominent for Gen Z, 89% of whom adjusted their profile settings to control their privacy. 

Sixty percent of consumers cancelled an account due to privacy concerns and nearly half of respondents have done this more than once. Consumers are also increasingly willing to call customer service about locked accounts, with 77% of US consumers admitting to having done so compared to 62% in Germany and 66% in France.  

French consumers were the most diligent about resetting their passwords with stronger ones. More than half of French respondents changed their passwords to something stronger compared to about a third of consumers in other countries. 

Passwords are also becoming a red line for many US consumers, with one in five saying they are more likely to use an online service that does not require one. More than 75% of respondents said they expect to spend less than five minutes creating a new account, but almost 40% said they would not spend two minutes.