APAC consumers prioritize app security

Networks Asia staff
06 Aug 2018

The majority of Asia-Pacific app users prioritize security over convenience, but the reverse is true for the younger generation, according to a study commissioned by F5 Networks.

The regional survey, conducted in partnership with YouGov, shows secure experiences are of foremost importance for Asia Pacific’s consumers, with 53% of them prioritizing security features over the functionality and convenience of an app.

But Asia Pacific’s consumers are unforgiving when it comes to security, with close to three in five respondents choosing to stop using an application altogether if data security is compromised.

Asia’s digital generation is making waves in shaping the global economy—from driving consumer markets to delivering innovative business models. To gauge the perceptions and attitudes of Asia Pacific consumers toward application usage, F5, in partnership with YouGov, surveyed over 3,700 respondents across Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Philippines and Singapore.

"Apps today are transforming the way consumers interact with products and services, as they provide a special, personalized environment for businesses to engage with users,” said Adam Judd, senior vice president, Asia Pacific, China and Japan, F5 Networks.

“The results from our survey are pretty clear. Despite the diversity of the region, one key factor rings true: security remains the top consideration for Asia Pacific’s consumers. As apps continue to dominate Asia Pacific, it is critical that businesses understand where their customers stand on the Curve of Convenience to deliver the right user experiences, or risk losing them.”

Security remains the top consideration for consumers in the Asia Pacific across all digital activities—evidenced by the fact that 53% of respondents prioritize security over convenience. Nearly half of respondents (46%) said that a more secured experience would be the biggest factor in enhancing their digital experience in the next five years.

However, despite the scrutiny over social networks’ use of personal data and vulnerability to hacks—such as the recent Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal coming —social networks still remain as the most used app type, and perhaps more worryingly, the second most trusted app type in the region.

The functionality and convenience afforded by social networks—enabling users to effortlessly keep up with updates from friends and family, while providing users with a Single Sign-On (SSO) option for numerous other applications, from mobile games to eCommerce sites, are likely causes of this.

This implies that users are prepared to give up their personal information in exchange for convenience and functionality, often without thinking twice about the security implications of their actions.

Consumers from emerging markets that are seeing rapid digital adoption, such as Indonesia, India and Philippines, prioritize convenience, while consumers from developed markets, such as Australia and Singapore, prioritize security.

In fact, users in Indonesia, India and Philippines are 14% more likely to prioritize convenience over security, as compared to the countries with a more established digital presence such as Australia and Singapore, where 63% and 67%, respectively, emphasize security over convenience.

Millennials sacrifice security for convenience

By 2020, more than 60% of the world’s Millennials (aged 18–34) will reside in Asia Pacific. They will ultimately become the demographic that influences the business of apps, setting expectations for businesses to cater to their preferences.

However, despite being born with technology, Millennials might prove to be the best exploit for attackers, as this digital generation takes security for granted. Less than half (44%) of Millennials surveyed prioritized security features, compared to 53% for Gen X (aged 35–54), and 69% for baby boomers (aged 55 and above).

While Millennials generally showed more awareness toward potential data security risks, they are less likely to be concerned about them. 32% of Millennials will continue to use an app even when data security is compromised, showing significantly higher tolerance for breaches.

As future leaders, Millennials also need to understand the level of security risk they are under, as their nonchalance toward security could be detrimental and be the primary reason for security breaches.

First published in NetworksAsia

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