Convenience beats privacy, security concerns – KPMG survey

22 Jul 2010

Ireland has been slower to embrace mobile-based transactions, even though consumers have been rapidly embracing mobile commerce-creating opportunities and challenges around the world, a survey by KPMG has found.

Eamonn Russell, head of Information, Communications & Entertainment in KPMG Ireland, says the upward trend in multiple usage of mobile devices is inevitable but consumers still have major concerns.  

“Privacy continues to be an important issue,” Russell said. “Interestingly, whilst many consumers appear willing to allow their online usage patterns and personal profile information to be tracked if it were to result in lower costs or free services or content, they continue to express more anxiety about data privacy than in earlier studies.’’

Ireland has a much lower penetration of retail and financial transactions than other countries, with only 8pc of consumers in Ireland having purchased a product via their mobile phone.  Globally, that figure is 28pc, and 58pc of global respondents said their banks offered mobile banking.  In Ireland, 38pc of respondents said the same.

This can present a significant challenge for retailers.  “There’s every reason to believe Ireland will end up with the same levels of mobile transactions as the global norm – so it seems inevitable that some existing business will come under pressure unless they can facilitate the likely demand for mobile purchases,” Russell said.

Regarding banking, Russell said there have been seismic changes in the Irish banking sector over the last two years, but these responses indicate that mobile potential is also worth continued assessment by the financial sector in Ireland.

Other findings from the KPMG survey include:

–     Despite their growing familiarity with mobile commerce, many consumers remain deeply worried about risking their privacy.

–     Compared with only 18 months ago, the global percentage of respondents who have used their mobile device for banking has more than doubled from 19pc  to pc.

–     The percentage that have used it to buy goods and services has gone from 10pc to 28pc.

–     However in Ireland only 8pc of consumers have used their mobile device to buy goods and services.

–     Some 58pc of global respondents said their banks offered mobile banking, however this falls to 38pc in Ireland stating that their bank offers this service.

–     Two-thirds of global respondents (66pc) said they use cloud computing services, including data storage and shared applications. A fifth said they already store personal medical and financial information in the cloud. In Spain, for example, 89pc of respondents said they use technologies that run in the cloud. In South Africa the figure is 79pc.  However, just half (51pc of US consumers have adopted cloud services, and a scant 27pc of those in Germany are users. Interestingly the figure for Ireland at 75pc is significantly higher than the global average.

–     Globally, 43pc of respondents said they are now willing to pay for access to frequently used online content. Among the Asia-Pacific countries this rises to 59pc, with China and India at 63pc and 65pc. Least willing to pay are consumers in the Netherlands, at only 6pc, followed by Ireland with 12pc, Canada with 15pc, and Germany with 17pc. 

–     The most popular types of content which people would pay for are video, chosen by 56pc, and music, chosen by 53pc.

–     Paid-for music is especially popular among the young, with 61pc of 16-24 year-olds saying they would be prepared to pay.

–     Most respondents (56pc) are comfortable seeing advertisements on their PCs, but only 42pc would accept them on their mobile devices.

–     Globally, there are also majorities in favour of seeing advertising on PCs tailored to their particular interests and activities, with almost two in three(64pc) said they would be willing to allow their online usage and personal profile information to be tracked, if this would result in lower costs. In Ireland the figure is 52pc.
“At first sight, these results might seem to conflict with our findings on privacy and security,” says Russell, “but there seems to be a clear distinction in consumers’ minds between uncontrolled use of personal information, and properly regulated use. They do see the value in allowing service providers to have access to the information necessary for more tailored services, but they are only prepared to do this if the risks are controlled and, crucially, if there is some value in it for them.”