Germans trust data security in online stores

Compared to other services, online retail enjoys the highest trust among Germans regarding data security

Not only since the European Union tightened the privacy rules for all institutions processing people’s personal data by introducing the General Data Protection Regulation GDPR in 2018 has personal data security been a hot topic in Germany. The digital world is yet unimaginable without the processing of data. For many internet services, it is necessary to provide at least an e-mail address. Some services are only useable for those who are okay with sharing extensive information on demographics or internet usage. According to a recent survey carried out by the German digital association Bitkom, most internet users in Germany feel that it is their own responsibility to take care of the protection of their personal data on the internet: 86% see themselves responsible. Sharing information about yourself on the internet still implies a great amount of trust in those who process the data, though. In the course of the same survey, Bitkom also inquired about people’s trust in certain online institutions when it comes to the security of their personal data. The winner in the trust race might be surprising for some:

Regarding the processing of their personal data, Germans do not put the same amount of trust in all online services. Many people actually do not seem to trust any online service when it comes to the security of their personal data. Online stores are still the winners in this ranking, even though just above half (53%) of German internet users aged 16 and older state that they trust their data to be stored and processed in a secure way by online stores. Second-in-line are e-mail service providers. One in two Germans is convinced that their personal data is treated securely by their e-mail client. Payment providers like PayPal, Klarna or online services by traditional banks, as well as internet providers also enjoy a fair amount of trust by German onliners – 47% respectively 45% feel that their data is secure with them. Public institutions in the broader sense – among them state authorities, police, and public administration – have a longer way to go to reach that amount of trust – 40% or less provide their data with a secure feeling. Surprisingly enough, among those with the lowest trust levels is a service with probably the highest user numbers: Social media. Only 26% of German internet users state that they trust in data security on social networks. In order for social commerce to really gain traction in Germany, networks and partnering retailers are thus well advised to work on their reputation regarding data protection.

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April 2021