46% of US online consumers purchased software online; Only 38% think buying s/w online is safe. 

One in five U.S. consumers who have purchased software via online auction shopping over the past 12 months has experienced some kind of problem, according to a new survey conducted by Forrester Research on behalf of the Business Software Alliance (BSA).  While 46% of US online consumers have purchased software online in the past 12 months, only 38% of US online consumers think that buying software online is safe. 

Survey Highlights: Online Shopping

  • 68% of US online consumers have purchased a product or service online in the past 6 months.

  • 74% of US online consumers agree that buying products over the Internet is easy.

  • 68% of US online consumers agree that it's convenient to buy gifts online.

  • 57% of US online consumers like shopping online.

  • Only 45% of US online consumers agree that online shopping is safe, and only 40% trust online retailers.

  • 46% of US online consumers have purchased software online in the past 12 months.

Survey Highlights: Software E-Commerce

  • Almost 1/5 of US online consumers who purchased software online in the past 12 months have experienced some kind of problem with their software (19%).

  • 53% of those who had a problem found that the software was not what they expected, 36% reported that the software didn’t work, 14% realized that software was a pirated version, 12% never received the product, and 17% encountered other issues.

  • 18% of US online consumers have purchased software through an online auction site, 9% purchased through a website reached through a link in an email promotion, and 13% purchased through another website found through a search engine.

  • 65% of US online consumers have received an unsolicited email offering software. However, a very small percentage of consumers actually purchased software based on an unsolicited email – only 3% of US online consumers.

Survey Highlights: Security

  • Only 38% of US online consumers think that buying software online is safe.

  • Only 28% of US online consumers think that their credit card information is secure when they make online purchases

  • 84% of US online consumers have anti-virus software installed on their computer. 69% of US online consumers have firewall protection, 67% have anti-spyware software, and 66% have spam blocker installed on their computer. 

  • 74% of US online consumers have pop-up blocker. 17% of US online consumers have parental controls, and 27% have user authentication.

Tips on How to Protect from Online shopping Security Risks

The BSA also offers guidelines and tips to help consumers recognize and avoid online shopping security risks including:

  • Trust your instincts when purchasing software or other products online.  If the price seems “too good to be true,” it probably is;
  • Check the vendor’s identifying information. Look for an online and offline customer support contact;
  • Do your homework—Look for a “trust mark” from a reputable organization (BBBonLine and www.bbb.org) to make sure the retailer is reliable.

Additional tips can be found on BSA’s Internet fraud website (www.bsacybersafety.com) where consumers can report personal incidents of fraud when purchasing software from Internet auction sites. 

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