SOURCE: Symantec Corporation

Symantec Corporation

November 29, 2010 08:59 ET

Online British Adults Set to Spend GBP 7.4 Billion on the Web This Christmas

Britain Set for Bumper Online Shopping Year -- but Online Businesses Could Lose out Unless They Address Consumer Security Fears

LONDON--(Marketwire - November 29, 2010) -   An online independent YouGov survey, commissioned by Norton by Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC), has found that British Internet users are planning to spend £7.4 billion online this Christmas*. Nearly one in five (18 percent) British web users expect to buy more presents, decorations and food online than they did last year, and nearly half (48 percent) anticipate spending a similar amount -- with those who shop online this Christmas planning to spend an average of £234.16. However, consumers expressed security concerns about internet shopping -- meaning that e-retailers could lose business if they do not increase customer confidence and trust about shopping online.

The online Christmas shopping survey found that almost a third of respondents (29 percent) who plan to shop online this festive season are planning to spend between £101 and £250. 25 to 34 year olds are the most active Christmas internet shoppers with 85 percent planning to shop online, spending £209.80 on average, and 26 percent expecting to buy more online than they did in 2009. However, nearly one in five (17 percent) of all online consumers stated that security concerns are mostly holding them back above all other things from shopping on the web this Christmas; citing fear of online identity theft and fraud (eight percent), not trusting the site they are buying from (four percent), fear of falling victim to cybercrime (three percent) and unwittingly downloading malware or a virus (one percent). Online retailers must look to enhance website security and create a trusted online environment so that any potential customer feels confident enough to give them their hard-earned cash this Christmas.

The Christmas online shopping survey uncovered other current trends and habits among British web users, including:

  • Men expect to spend more money online this Christmas than women, spending an average of £208.49 compared to £179.67

  • Those aged 35 to 44 will be the biggest online Christmas spenders, with plans to part with an average of £286.95

  • Those in the East appear to be the most frugal, with respondents planning to spend an average of just £201.82 online

  • Conversely, Scots are set to be the most generous spenders, with Scottish respondents planning to spend an average of £227.68

  • The Scots are also the most keen online shoppers, with 80 percent stating that they will shop on the web this holiday season, and with 23 percent believing they will shop online more than they did last year -- more than any other region

  • Respondents from Northern Ireland are the most concerned about security threats when it comes to shopping online this Christmas, with over a quarter (29 percent) deterred from shopping online this holiday the most due to security concerns (fear of online identity theft and fraud -- 14 percent; fear of falling victim to cybercrime -- nine percent; not trusting the site I'm buying from -- five percent; unwittingly downloading malware or a virus -- two percent)

Regional breakdown:

Region Average planned Christmas shopping spend by UK online adults Percentage of consumers that are held back from shopping online by security concerns
Scotland £227.68 23%
London £198.33 16%
North of England £195.50 19%
Wales £ 173.09 16%
Midlands £ 194.87 15%
South of England £ 188.32 17%
Northern Ireland £ 189.62 29%
East of England £ 174.57 10%

Quote and tips for consumers:
Michael Cunningham, security expert at Symantec, stated: "British web users are ready to spend a huge amount of money this festive season and are rightly being cautious about shopping online. We've provided some simple steps that consumers should follow to protect themselves online. Fraudsters will be out in full force with so much to gain but by being aware and only shopping on trusted websites, consumers should still be able to benefit from the efficiency and cost benefits of shopping online."

Norton suggests the following tips for consumers to protect themselves when shopping online this Christmas:

  • Credit not debit. A debit card is a direct line into your bank accounts.

  • Use strong passwords. Passwords should have at least eight characters and should combine alphanumeric ad special characters. Where possible, use two-factor or strong authentication which works by requiring a user to provide not just a username and password but also a unique, one-time six-digit security code.

  • Look for visual cues that identify safe websites. Scan the web page for a trust mark, such as the VeriSign Trust Seal. These marks demonstrate that trusted authorities have taken comprehensive measures to certify the website. Many browsers will also turn their address bars to the colour green to signify the site is authentic.

  • Avoid divulging personal information. Don't give out unnecessary personal data like usernames and password via email.

  • Protect your computer. Keep your system clean and in good shape with an updated security software suite like Norton Internet Security.

Quote and tips for businesses:
Michael Cunningham, security expert at Symantec, stated: "Online businesses should follow simple steps to create a trusted online environment. Security should be highly visible to shoppers to improve confidence online. Websites should display trust symbols and ensure users personal details are protected through Extended Validation SSL -- which turns the address bar of authenticated sites green in high-security browsers. In addition, contact details and security policies should be prominent. A visibly secure website is proven to increase sales and reduce cart abandonment."

Norton suggests the following tips for online businesses looking to generate trust and encourage more shoppers to buy online this festive season:

  • Scan your site for malware: it's essential to protect your web site from viruses and other malware. If you don't protect against malware, you risk being blacklisted by search engines such as Google

  • Encrypt your customers' personal details: use an SSL Certificate, ideally Extended Validation SSL, so that it's visible to your customers that their details are being protected 

  • Use a trust mark: display popular trust symbols -- research shows that consumer confidence is higher on sites that display trusted symbols such as the VeriSign Trust Seal

  • Protect users' accounts: don't expect your customers to rely on a username and password combination; these can be easily hacked, so add a second layer of authentication such as VeriSign Identity Protection

  • Increase consumer confidence online: Make it obvious that your website is secure and that you are doing everything possible to protect your customers' personal details and identity. Publish your security certificates and give transparency to visitors by displaying visible contact details.

The independent research was carried out in four countries across Europe: UK, Germany, France and Sweden. According to the results, 18 percent of online adults in Germany and the UK will Christmas shop more online this year compared to 2009, followed by Sweden (13 percent), then France (12 percent). The total amount expected to be spent across all these markets is £22.2 billion**, with the UK seeing the biggest average spend per respondent, at £234.16 (approximately EUR 274.96). French respondents were the most security-conscious, with almost a quarter (24 percent) stating that fears over security could deter them from shopping online this Christmas (fear of online identity theft and fraud -- 15 percent; not trusting the site they're buying from -- four percent; fear of falling victim to cybercrime -- three percent; unwittingly downloading malware or a virus -- two percent).

About the survey:
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2168 adults in the UK, 1,020 in Germany, 1000 in France and 1020 in Sweden. Fieldwork was undertaken between 2nd - 9th November 2010. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted are representative of adults in each individual country (aged 18+).

*Estimated based on the latest data from the Office of National Statistics which indicates that there are 38.3 million internet users in the UK ( The average online respondents will spend £193.65 Christmas shopping online this year, this equates to £7.4 billion.

**Estimated based on the below figures:

  UK France Germany Sweden
Number of online adults 38,300,000 37,490,000 52,042,000 6,083,933
Average amount expected to be spent in local currency £193.65 € 158.00 € 203.04 1404.3 kr
Average amount expected to be spent (£) 193.65 134.12 172.358 127.075
Total online spend (£) 7,416,795,000 5,028,158,800 8,969,855,036 773,115,786
Grand total (£) 22,187,924,622      
Grand total (€) 26,120,941,975      
Grand total (kr) 244,962,440,753      
Conversion rates:        
France/Germany: £1 = €1.17801        
Sweden: £1 = 11.0514 kr        
  • French statistic sourced from Médiamétrie (a company specializing in media audience and online measurement)
  • German statistic sourced from Statistisches Bundesamt (Federal Statistics Office)
  • Swedish statistic sourced from Statistiska Central Byrån (Central Statistics Office)

About Symantec
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