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CIGI survey explores declining Internet trust and e-commerce

A new global survey reveals that Internet users are increasingly concerned about their online privacy, and that 49 per cent of users polled say lack of trust is their main reason for not shopping online.


April 24, 2017
By Staff

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 as data breaches and the reported hacking of elections in several European countries continues to capture international headlines. The survey results suggest that the resulting impact on trust is hindering further development of the digital economy.

Released at the UNCTAD E-Commerce Week in Geneva, the 2017 CIGI-Ipsos Global Survey on Internet Security & Trust shows that among those worried about their privacy, the top sources of concern were cybercriminals (82 per cent), Internet companies (74 per cent) and governments (65 per cent).

“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 program, 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 e-commerce,” he said.

Lack of trust is most likely to keep people off e-commerce platforms in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, suggesting that the potential gains of e-commerce are not spread evenly around the globe, the report stated.

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The survey also revealed great differences in e-commerce behaviour when it came to how users are purchasing goods online. For example, in China, India and Indonesia, more than 86 per cent of respondents expect to make mobile payments on their smartphone in the next year, compared with less than 30 per cent in France, Germany and Japan.

Even in the digital world, location still matters. Fifty-five percent of global respondents indicated that they prefer purchasing online goods and services made in their own country.

“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 Sirimanne, director of UNCTAD’s Division on Technology and Logistics. “More capacity-building is therefore urgently needed,” she added.

The survey of 24,225 Internet users was conducted between December 23, 2016, and March 21, 2017, in 24 countries.

“Nearly 50 per cent 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.

For more information and to see additional data collected as part of the 2017 CIGI-Ipsos Global Survey on Internet Security and Trust, visit: www.cigionline.org/internet-survey.