Security Keeps Women from Shopping Online

Concerns about the security of online transactions are the primary obstacle keeping women from shopping online, according to a recent study from Cyber Dialogue.

According to Cyber Dialogue, security concerns appear to be stronger predictors of online purchasing than any other factor, including Internet experience. The study found that among the 24 million online women who have not purchased online, 40 percent said they are concerned about the security of the information they give on sites.

“E-commerce marketers are eager to target women because they traditionally make the majority of household purchase decisions,” said Idil Cakim, an analyst for Cyber Dialogue. “Yet based on their online shopping habits, women are reluctant to seek product information or place orders online mainly because of security concerns relating to stolen credit card transactions, personal privacy, and the lack of Net regulation.”

During the past 12 months, women shoppers who believe it is safe to use a credit card online spent an average of $830 on their online orders, compared to $459 for those women doubting transaction security. In addition, while 43 percent of online men currently order online, only 28 percent of women users do so, suggesting that the barriers to Internet shopping are much more formidable for women than men.

“Nearly 70 percent of women who seek product information online still end up going offline to make purchases,” Cakim said. “This drift by women from the Internet to traditional offline stores suggests that the transaction areas of online retail shops aren’t conducive to acquiring female customers as online purchasers.”

Cyber Dialogue also found that even as the number of women online continues to swell (33.6 million), women are significantly less likely than men to seek product information online, order from the Net, or use Web-based product information to complete a transaction offline. This underscores the importance of marketing to women on the Web with different strategies than those geared towards men, accordnig to Cyber Dialogue.

Other findings include:

  • Women are more likely than men to seek product information on health and beauty product sites, while they are much less likely to seek information on travel, books, cars, software, and music
  • Nearly 90 percent of online women say that guaranteed transaction security influences their repeat visits to online shopping sites
  • 67 percent of online women report that published privacy policies encourages them to return to online shopping sites.

These findings are from Cyber Dialogue’s American Internet User Survey (AIUS), which consists of in-depth interviews with 1,000 Internet users and 1,000 nonusers. AIUS is a quarterly survey that has been conducted by Cyber Dialogue since 1994.

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