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Report finds consumers uncertain of online privacy promises

28 October 2015 - 16:25 by Graham Miller

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When consumers carry out safe shopping online they are trusting a retailer to look after the private information they provide to complete each transaction. And yet, most people remain unconvinced by the claims that companies are taking adequate measures to protect sensitive data, according to a new report from Capgemini Consulting.

The study assessed hundreds of thousands of social media posts made over the past six months, aggregating them in a way that uncovers a range of interesting conclusions about current consumer sentiments surrounding the e-commerce market as a whole.

When it comes to privacy, 93 per cent of posts mentioning this topic did so in a negative way, which analysts see as being indicative of an overriding lack of trust. And there are certain events which can stimulate discussions about online security, including incidents of data theft or even something as simple as a retailer updating its policy on data protection, following a merger.

While the report found that many people are concerned about whether or not it is truly possible to carry out safe shopping online in the current climate, there are areas of the e-commerce industry which are receiving a far more positive response from consumers.

The growing ability to personalise the online shopping experience is being wholeheartedly embraced by the majority of people, although it is in North America where this is truly being adopted, with European customers being slightly less eager about such features.

Any questions about the rise of e-commerce personalisation were once again found to come back to the problem of privacy and security. And since personalisation relies on retailers harvesting more information about individual customers, this is certainly an issue which needs to be handled with care, if companies are to avoid future scandals.