Security Concerns Hamper Mobile App Adoption

The 2016 MEF Global Consumer Trust Report quantifies the anxiety and uncertainty people feel when engaging with the mobile app ecosystem.

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More than a third (36 per cent) of consumers have put off downloading and using more mobile apps and services due to privacy and security concerns, according to a report from AVG Technologies and MEF. Trust remains the biggest barrier to mobile growth for the fourth consecutive year of the annual study. The 2016 MEF Global Consumer Trust Report quantifies the anxiety and uncertainty people feel when engaging with the mobile app ecosystem but otherwise have no way to express their feedback.

More than 52 percent of respondents in eight countries studies deleted apps that worried them, more than one-third (38 per cent) stopped using them altogether and 21percent left negative reviews or warned friends.

"The data confirms what we know to be true: lack of trust is increasingly becoming a barrier to the use and proliferation of mobile apps," Harvey Anderson, chief legal officer at AVG, told eWEEK. "One of the most interesting findings was that almost half of the consumers surveyed worldwide were willing to pay more for privacy-friendly apps that ensure that the data collected is not shared with third parties."

Anderson explained the value of this insight would be realized by those who understand and are prepared to capitalize on the opportunity it signals.

When consumers were asked why they lost trust in an app, 42 percent said they were concerned that it lacked a privacy policy.

"Although many consumers don’t take the time to read through an app’s privacy policy, they do get comfort and peace of mind when there is an easy-to-find privacy policy," Anderson noted. "To help consumers clearly understand how their data is being used, it should become an industry best practice to simplify privacy policies, keeping them as transparent and straight to the point as possible because consumers have a right to know where their data is going."

He said the role of the privacy policy is extremely important moving forward as consumers begin to understand the security threats they face on mobile apps.

"As consumers continue to become more aware of the digital security threats they face, trust becomes even more important as the IoT platform shift unfolds because the magnitude of IoT devices exceeds PCs and smartphones combined," Anderson said. "This is changing the way we have to look at security and privacy because the IoT era ushers in a wave of technology that is the most personal yet – down to the skin."