Ethics and digital awareness in online shopping: how do consumers respond to privacy and data security issues?

According to the E-commerce in Poland 20231 report by Gemius, of the approximately 30 million Internet users in Poland, as many as 79% make purchases online. Survey participants were asked about factors motivating them to buy online, and 16% mentioned secure forms of payment. At the same time, 16% of respondents who forgo online shopping cite payment security concerns as the second most frequently identified reason. Given this dissonance, is it possible to summarize consumer perceptions of privacy and data security in online shopping?

Patchy understanding of cyber security

An interesting discussion of the issue of data security in online shopping is provided in the Safe While E-Shopping 2022 report published by Santander Consumer Bank2. The study reveals some paradoxes. 24% of buyers rated their level of knowledge as definitely good, 30% as good, while 33% gave a neutral answer.

Against this backdrop, it may come as a surprise that as many as 84% of shoppers have not heard of phishing, and 77% of skimming – arguably the two most important dangers while e-shopping. Perhaps some of those surveyed are familiar with these phenomena, but cannot name them.

On the positive side, 80% of those surveyed said they were familiar with dangers present on the Internet, and they mainly relied for their knowledge on online articles and bank and government websites. It seems that the media and institutions have the potential to improve the Poles’ understanding of cyber security.

Online security in practice

The authors of the report also verified how consumers protect their data. Here are the most common answers:

  • do not open suspicious attachments or links – 78%;
  • use antivirus software – 63%;
  • be careful when sharing information online – 58%;
  • use strong passwords – 54%;
  • do not use unknown WiFi networks – 48%.

The fact so many Poles trust online stores is a proof of their safe and informed shopping practices. On the other hand, there is still a considerable reserve regarding knowledge on cybersecurity.