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TRUST IN THE AMERICAS STUDY PROVIDES INSIGHTS INTO ONLINE PRIVACY AND E-COMMERCE IN THE U.S. AND LATIN AMERICA

Source: Cheskin Research

Posted on July 24, 2000

      Cheskin Research, a leading strategic market research and consulting firm, has announced its second comprehensive study investigating online trust. This study is unique in that it highlights the cultural similarities and differences in Internet attitudes and behaviors between the US, Spanish-speaking Latin America, and Brazil.

      The online survey was conducted among 2,681 Internet users including 1,837 from the US and 770 from Latin America and Brazil. A description of the study and a copy of the full report are available free of charge at www.cheskin.com.

      "Trust in the Wired Americas" was undertaken to extend the learning from the initial trust study released in January 1999 by Cheskin Research and Studio Archetype/Sapient. Objectives of this study included exploration of online trust and privacy issues in the US and Latin America, identification of the most trusted web sites and online security symbols, and e-commerce purchase behavior.

      The study provides the following key insights:

  1. A sense of anarchy permeates attitudes about the Web. Developing trust online requires minimizing risk, including identity risk - the misuse of personal information. People consider security of their identity as important as the security of their money.

  2. Most people believe that the government, "Big Brother," is able to easily monitor their activities, but they do not see this as a big threat.

  3. Hackers who steal personal information are considered the biggest threat. Web sites are generally thought ineffectual in the face of hackers, but have the potential to boost trust by stressing their use of effective security technologies.

  4. Most people are wary of providing more personal information to web sites ("Little Brothers" to government's "Big Brother") in exchange for a better price, however.

  5. Expert Internet users age 19-25 are willing to make this trade.

  6. Cultural differences require different actions to increase trust, and a global market requires universal symbols of security.

      "Trust continues to be the key issue influencing the growth of e-commerce," explains Davis Masten, Principal of Cheskin Research. Assuring online consumers recourse against privacy breaches will be crucial. Add to this the fact that the Internet is creating truly global cultures, and the need for transcultural security icons becomes obvious."

      "This study reveals the real heroes and culprits in the journey toward establishing online trust," says Steve Diller, Partner, eBusiness and Media Strategy. "Brand will continue to be an important enabler of trust, and for those people making their first foray into the e-commerce environment, recognized symbols such as credit card icons have strong trust value. It's encouraging that in spite of consumers' belief that absolute privacy is impossible, they still participate in e-commerce. However, it's also apparent that they'll only tolerate this invasion up to a certain point."

      The Trust in the Wired Americas Study also tested recognition and trust factors of the five most trusted "seals of approval" from last year's eCommerce Trust Study. Credit card symbols were the clear winners in Latin America, while TRUSTe was favored in the US. Ironically, few respondents have actually read the information statements associated with these symbols.

      In addition, the study identified the most trusted web sites. Yahoo! rated at the top in the US and ranked closely with MSN/Hotmail in Latin America, while the bank, Bradesco, web site rated highest in Brazil.




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