Mobile Commerce Industry Hampered by Security Issues

The U.S. market experienced the largest increase in a lack of trust of the markets studied.

mcommerce and security

Users’ lack of trust remains the largest single obstacle to growth in the mobile content and commerce industry. Forty percent of mobile users recently surveyed said it prevents them from downloading content more often, according to AVG Technologies and MEF, which conducted the study.

Mistrust of apps is especially high (49 percent), according to survey results.

More than a third of users (34 percent) said a lack of trust stops them from buying any mobile apps and services. The U.S. market experienced the largest increase in a lack of trust of the markets studied. At 35 percent, users’ lack of trust was up 9 percent from the year earlier.

"So far we have seen that most app developers prize ease-of-use and the user experience and security features often take a back seat," Judith Bitterli, chief marketing officer for AVG Technologies, told eWEEK. "In light of the recent celebrity data and social media hacks, however, we certainly hope the pendulum will start to swing the other way and developers take security and transparency seriously."

Alongside this growing mistrust, the study also revealed an increase in resistance to sharing personal information, such as location, address book details or health records, with apps.

A little under three-quarters (72 percent) of mobile users said that they are not happy sharing such information and almost two in five (39 percent) claimed never to do so.

Thirty percent of respondents said app developers and businesses that spent more time protecting customer data would foster greater trust in the mobile platforms, and 63 percent said that they considered transparency important or extremely important (compared to 49 percent last year).

"Apple Pay could indeed be the catalyst for more widespread adoption of mobile wallet services by way of inciting competition among the other players in the mobile payments space," Bitterli said. "As the competition heats up over time, we will see greater demands for industry standards and rigorous testing – all of which will bring more consumers off the sidelines to embrace mobile shopping."

The survey also indicated that caution about malware has decreased--only 48 percent of respondents said malware would make them think twice before downloading apps, compared with 74 per cent last year.

Also, methods of self-protection have decreased across the board – with less people taking the time to read app store descriptions, long privacy documents or to ask friends and family for advice, the survey found.

The most popular method for self-protection was downloading a privacy protection app, cited by 31 percent of respondents.

"It’s difficult to pinpoint why malware fears have decreased, but one could say that consumers are shifting their attention to privacy, which is proving harder to manage and where the solutions are not as immediately clear," Bitterli said. "In the U.S., for example, high-profile data breaches have brought privacy issues to the forefront of public consciousness. I would therefore expect privacy to increasingly become a more urgent and pressing issue for most than malware."