IBM Corp. has released the results of a study it undertook in 2011 that shows rising consumer trust in mobile e-commerce among Canadians.
From a population of 2,000 people in Canada, the study found that 50 per cent were comfortable using a mobile device to make purchases and received promotions at a retail store, while 68 per cent said they weren’t concerned about security on their mobile device.
The survey also found that people’s “trust ranking” of retailers and manufacturers rose significantly from 2010 to 2011. According to the results, their willingness to accept advice from retailers on making purchases has tripled over the past year (12 per cent from 4 per cent) as well as from manufacturers (14 per cent from 9 per cent). Meanwhile, with retailers and manufacturers getting a bigger piece of the pie, trust in family and friends in these matters has dropped to 48 per cent from 53 per cent.
Pinar Cardwell, associate partner with IBM’s global business services, partly credited social media efforts on the part of companies for the rise. “The types of the media, the types of the technology that the consumers are willing to use is changing… it’s kind of been moving away from the traditional search engine, Internet, a retailer Web site — it’s more new ways of finding out information.”
People are also using more varied forms of technology, she added. “In the previous years we had about a two-or-more technologies response from the consumers,” she said. “About 13 per cent of the consumers last year said, ‘We would like to use two or more technologies,’ which was an interesting number for us because when we didn’t have a lot of the social media buzz happening, I think it was really interesting that there was willingness and interest in using two or more technologies.”
“This year, the number went up and consumers now are saying, ‘You know what? I’m willing to use three or more technologies.”
Takeaki Chijiiwa, principal consultant at Security Compass Inc., a Toronto-based firm that develops and tests mobile security platforms, suggested that Canadians’ trust in technology might be better thought of as trusting in a brand. We’re perhaps becoming more comfortable giving up personal information to our favourite companies. “I think people are just getting more used to the fact that this retail information collecting occurs,” he said.
He cautions, however, that consumers shouldn’t become complacent when shopping online. In the absence of technical knowledge that would allow you to assess the security of a device, application, or site, it’s best to look at companies’ track records before giving them your data, “whether it be your sensitive information, like your birthdate, and maybe your social insurance number. Things like that,” he said.
“Just being cognizant that whatever you do transmit could ultimately be stored on the device as well as at the particular vendor that’s requiring that information.”