Most HK e-shoppers can't tell if a site is unsafe

Chee Sing Chan
07 Aug 2014

Over 70% of respondents to a recent survey in Hong Kong said they did not know how to distinguish a secure website from an insecure one. With online shopping on the rise across the territory and the recent cases of high profile sites being compromised, online security is becoming top of mind for consumers and businesses.

The survey conducted by the Hong Kong Internet Registration Corporation (HKIRC) also found that 20% of respondents had experienced the theft of personal data or credit card details after shopping online. The survey covered 2264 respondents from a pool of 100,000 Internet users in Hong Kong.

While the prospect of greater threat is clear for online shoppers, Hong Kong has in the past been praised for its safe e-commerce environment which was highlighted in a recent study by PayPal which also noted that nine in ten Hong Kong shoppers make purchases online at least once per month, and around 20% do so at least once per week.

The HKIRC survey aimed to unveil the key factors affecting online purchase behavior, as well as public awareness and views on the safety of online shopping. When asked about the factors impacting users’ intention on making online purchases, respondents cited the following top five factors:

  • Privacy of personal data provided to shopping websites should be protected
  • Transaction data should be well protected
  • Terms of purchase should be stated clearly
  • Product details should be clearly listed
  • Contact details should be prominently displayed

Jonathan Shea, CEO of HKIRC, noted that much greater education is required to raise public awareness on the issue online security. While he also admitted it would be difficult to give everyone the necessary technical know-how of how to spot in an insecure site, he hoped that websites using his organization’s .hk domain could be seen as trusted sites.


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