Consumers are increasingly prioritising security over convenience, according to McAfee’s 2022 Global Trends Study. “Indian consumers’ greater perceived risk of exposure to online threats for individuals and family members, and a corresponding desire to invest in online protection,” the report said.
The report is based on a study conducted by McAfee, LLC in November 2021 about possible shifts in needs, attitudes, and actions around online safety. From multiple countries, 10,000 individuals, between 20 and 60 years old, participated in the study.
The report comes amid the increase in the use of internet banking, virtual asset investment, and other online activities due to Covid-19. “While life online is loaded with conveniences, they’re not enough. People want to be secure. Security, and the feeling people get from it, appears to have an intrinsic value,” the report said.
In a series of “either, or” questions, consumers repeatedly chose protection over convenience. For instance, when asked to choose between connecting with others from anywhere to always being fully protected, the response was significantly in favor of strong protection (69 per cent) over ease of connection (16 per cent). Similar sentiment extended to the workplace, where “work meetings that are guaranteed seamless” was at 14 per cent as against “meetings that are guaranteed secure” at 69 per cent.
“Consumers want a protected connection, even if it costs them. Security appears to have a distinct financial value as well. When asked to choose between cost savings and their security, consumers still favored protection, overwhelmingly so,” it said.
Further, between being offered zero-fee banking or utterly secure banking, 17 per cent opted for zero fees while 68 per cent went with their security. Separately, 71 per cent of respondents said that they would pay an extra 10 per cent for a secure purchase whereas 13 per cent said they would risk leaking contact information for a purchase at a lower price.
On top of prioritising security in their online banking and shopping, consumers will also pay for apps and services that protect them. 71 per cent of consumers said that they addressed their security and privacy risks by using new tools on their devices—such as a VPN, antivirus apps, firewalls, credit monitoring services, etc.
The report also explored security and consumer preferences when it comes to gaming.
As per the report, privacy is a major consumer issue, with 53 per cent of respondents saying that they feel the risks to their online privacy have increased.
“Gamers who were surveyed share this feeling as well, particularly in a landscape where many so-called “free” games actually have a hidden price—the capture and possible resale of personal information to third parties,” as per the report. “When made aware of potential privacy issues, most gamers in our survey said they will protect themselves.”
Around 25 per cent of respondents were willing to share their personal info, while a majority of consumers (56 per cent) said that they were not willing to trade their privacy for a game.
“Provided they have an awareness of the issues at hand, gamers (and in many cases, their parents) can make better decisions on which games to play and which ones to avoid,” as per the report.
As per the report, in terms of healthcare, consumers adopted online healthcare services, out of a mix of convenience (51 per cent) and COVID-related necessity (68 per cent) and will continue to do so—within limits.
Apart from this, consumers are also concerned about the security of their vaccination cards. “Vax cards are the new credit cards, and consumers in India want them protected the need for digital vaccine passports will continue, and consumers in India will want to ensure that their identity is protected,” as per the report.
Over half of respondents (54 per cent) said that they expect increases in tracking vaccine status and storing proof of vaccination in 2022. However, they also expressed concerns regarding COVID-related online activities potentially leading to data privacy issues or possible identity theft.
67 per cent of respondents said that they would prefer a digital vaccine passport while only 18 per cent preferred a paper copy.
When it comes to fintech, consumers were wary of scams. “ Cryptocurrency fraud like the “Squid Game” scam will sour consumer taste for fintech,” the report said. 53 per cent of those surveyed felt that their personal and financial information is particularly at risk.
Around 53 per cent of respondents stated that they created new accounts or logins associated with cryptocurrencies and virtual assets while 54 per cent of crypto enthusiasts reported storing new digital property on their device in 2021.
An additional 49 per cent said that they keep personal data, shopping or transactions data, or records of conversations on their device. This makes such devices an attractive target for cybercriminals.
Online learning and consultations
In the field of education, online learning and consultations are on the rise. “Consumers in India are showing more and more willingness to learn online and seek out online mental health consultations, at least in certain cases,” it said.
While the growth is driven by COVID-related concerns (63 per cent), a significant number of respondents cited requirements for school or business purposes (44 per cent) as reasons to seek out these services online.
“Almost every aspect of our lives now intersects the digital world. This requires greater levels of information to be shared with an increasing number of applications and organisations through the Internet. Safeguarding this information requires a combination of the strong security architecture of applications along with good user hygiene, such as strong passwords and multi-factor authentication,” said McAfee’s Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Steve Grobman.
January 24, 2022