SOURCE: VeriSign, Inc.

November 25, 2009 12:57 ET

UK's Online Shopping Expected to Increase This Christmas, Despite Down Economy

But Security Concerns Will Limit Online Buying to Less Than One-Third of Holiday Spending

LONDON--(Marketwire - November 25, 2009) - The percentage of the UK population that will shop online this Christmas is set to hit 86 percent, a six percent increase from 2008, according to an online YouGov survey* commissioned by VeriSign (NASDAQ: VRSN), the trusted provider of Internet infrastructure services for the networked world.

The research found that consumers across Europe plan to spend less than a third of their total holiday shopping budget online this Christmas, with online identity theft and lack of trust in Web security cited as a concern. UK consumers plan to spend 32 pence in every pound, the French will spend 30 cents in every Euro, the Germans will spend 28 cents in every Euro and the Swedes will spend 21 öre in every krona online. With so much room for potential ecommerce sales growth, online retailers will be doing everything in their power to increase consumer confidence online and attract shoppers this Christmas.

Almost one in four (22 percent) Britons say they are being held back from shopping online this Christmas due to reservations over online ID theft and fraud, while 14 percent stated that they will not shop online because they do not trust ecommerce sites. These percentages represent losses that retailers could easily stem by promoting their online security credentials, and through technologies such as Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificates. EV SSL turns the address bar green in high-security browsers, to indicate to consumers that the site they are buying from is safe.

Meanwhile, 32 percent of consumers say they are deterred from shopping online due to not being able to try before they buy. Unsurprisingly following the recent postal strikes, 27 percent are concerned that goods bought online will not arrive in time for Christmas.

Andrew McLelland, director at IMRG, the industry body for global e-retailing, said, "The research shows that fears over online safety are still holding consumers back this Christmas. More and more people are browsing online but not necessarily spending a lot. If people don't trust the site they are browsing, they simply won't buy from it. If there is even the slightest hesitation the total amount spent will dramatically be reduced."

"There is no reason why consumers should be put off from shopping online this season," said Martin Mackay, vice president of VeriSign EMEA. "With some of the best deals available on the Web, from travel to toys, consumers should feel safe shopping online as long as they are aware of the security signs to look for, such as the VeriSign seal, on the Web page."

VeriSign recommends the following tips for consumers to protect themselves online this Christmas. More details on these tips found at

1. Look for visual cues. Prominent misspellings and frequent grammatical errors are signs that a Web site is fraudulent. You can also look for simple visual cues that show that the site is authenticated and protected. Cues include a green address bar in high-security browsers such as Internet Explorer 7/8, Firefox 3.0/3.5, Opera 9.X and higher, Google Chrome, Safari 3.2, Safari 4, Flock (social networking browser) and the iPhone. Other visual cues include a padlock icon in either the lower or upper right-hand corner of the screen and https:// in the browser; both of these indicate the site is secured.

2. Check out two-factor authentication. A growing number of sites are accepting a second form of user authentication that comes from physical devices such as a token, credit-card form factor, a USB drive and even your cell phone. Each device provides users with a dynamic onetime password that must be entered into a login page in addition to their user name and password. The extra layer of security prevents potential fraudsters from accessing personal accounts that are accessed by a simple user name and password.

3. Compare the checkout experience to well-known sites and look for anomalies. Most well-run Web sites -- such as Amazon or eBay -- send order confirmation, shipping confirmation e-mails and allow you to print out confirmations of your orders. Beware of a simple form with no "visual cues" and no confirmation that you entered or ordered anything. However, if the Web site is fraudulent, victims would lose their money, whether or not it had been entered securely.

4. Know your vendor. Read their ratings and reviews from other customers and take red flags seriously. Also make sure you have some way of contacting them -- look for a phone number and mailing address. Finally, try to find out where the company is based in their "about us" section.

5. Pay attention to the order form. The site should not ask for more than your name, shipping address, billing address, credit card type, number and expiration. Data such as social security number, bank routing number, etc. should not be collected.

The UK the research also revealed differences according to region and age group:

--  Those over 55 are most fearful of online identity theft and fraud,
    with 32% saying this will hold them back from shopping over the Internet
--  The 35-44 year old age range is the most brazen, with 47% stating that
    nothing will hold them back from buying online this Christmas
--  Quality of gifts is most important to the 18-24 year old age range,
    with not being able to try before buying a key concern for 43%, and worries
    over delivery times putting off a further 39% from shopping online
--  Scots are the most fearful of buying online, with 30% worried about
    online identity theft and fraud
--  The Northern Irish are least bothered by online fraud, with 17%
    concerned about being defrauded over the Web compared with the national
    average of 22%

About VeriSign

VeriSign, Inc. (NASDAQ: VRSN) is the trusted provider of Internet infrastructure services for the networked world. Billions of times each day, VeriSign helps companies and consumers all over the world engage in communications and commerce with confidence. Additional news and information about the company is available at

*Notes to editors

The online survey was commissioned by VeriSign and conducted by YouGov from October 23rd to 26th. 2,092 UK adults (aged 18+) were polled in the sample.

Statements in this announcement other than historical data and information constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. These statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause VeriSign's actual results to differ materially from those stated or implied by such forward-looking statements. The potential risks and uncertainties include, among others, the uncertainty of future revenue and profitability and potential fluctuations in quarterly operating results due to such factors as the inability of VeriSign to successfully develop and market new products and services and customer acceptance of any new products or services, including VeriSign SSL, EV SSL, Code Signing and PKI solutions; the possibility that VeriSign's announced new services may not result in additional customers, profits or revenues; and increased competition and pricing pressures. More information about potential factors that could affect the company's business and financial results is included in VeriSign's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including in the company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2008 and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. VeriSign undertakes no obligation to update any of the forward-looking statements after the date of this press release.

©2009 VeriSign, Inc. All rights reserved. VeriSign, the VeriSign logo, the Checkmark Circle logo, GeoTrust, Thawte, RapidSSL, and other trademarks, service marks, and designs are registered or unregistered trademarks of VeriSign, Inc., and its subsidiaries in the United States and in foreign countries. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

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