(July 25, 2016) -- According to a new study by H.R. Rao, AT&T Distinguished Chair in Infrastructure Assurance and Security at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), the willingness of online shoppers to return to a store after a breach is mostly dependent on age.
Online shopping has been on the rise for some time, in many cases even replacing physical stores for things like books and electronics. Rao notes in his study that the industry’s success can be partially attributed to the strength of secure payment methods.
Recently, however, data breaches have threatened the perceived security of e-commerce. Rao and his colleagues began their research just after the 2013 data breach that significantly affected Target. Data from roughly 70 million customers’ debit and credit cards was stolen.
“We decided to examine how much people trust online shopping and how their attitudes might change after a breach,” he said. “We found there was a clear demarcation in the way younger and older adults looked at the incident.”
While Rao found that most people would be more careful after their data had been compromised or even avoid stores like Target after a breach, younger adults were less likely to change their behaviors.
“The differences are in terms of trust,” he said. “Younger people seem to believe that these breaches are just a part of living with technology, but the older generation hasn’t grown up with that same exposure to technology, so they aren’t as trusting.”
Rao and his colleagues had some sense that there might be an age divide in developing trust toward companies like Target after a breach, but he said he still found the results surprising.
“In the end, it’s all about the propensity to take risks,” he said. “The younger generation is simply more comfortable with online behavior, from posting on social media to shopping online.”
Rao found that the younger generation seemed to value convenience more than security, while older adults were inclined to avoid stores affected by data breaches altogether. As Target and other companies work to recover their public image, he hopes the UTSA study will persuade e-commerce sites that they need to do a better job of reassuring their customers after an incident.
“It’s vital for these companies and sites to reestablish trust with their customers,” he said.
Learn more about cybersecurity at UTSA.
Learn more about the UTSA Department of Information Systems and Cybersecurity.
Throughout the summer, UTSA offers more than 60 camps in science, engineering, architecture, sports, music, writing, language, culture and more.
Various locations, Main and Downtown Campuses
Experience a fun, interactive week at UTSA as new students and their families take the first steps to becoming a Roadrunner.
Various locations, Main Campus and Downtown Campuses
Chat with members of the Downtown Campus Initiative Task Force about changes taking place as the Downtown Campus grows and transforms to offer a comprehensive living and learning experience. Table topics will include curriculum changes, orientation updates, transportation, food and living options.
Frio Street Building Commons Area, Downtown Campus
UTSA and the San Antonio Express-News will jointly host this town hall meeting to discuss Unequal Justice in Bexar County and in Texas.
Buena Vista Street Building Theater (BVB 1.326), Downtown Campus
Finance and Budget Modeling Task Force presents a panel presentation of experts from 4 universities with experience in incentive-based budgeting. All UTSA campus community is invited to attend and be informed about budgeting processes.
Business Building Richard Liu Auditorium (BB 2.01.02), Main Campus
This event showcases the work of trainees, faculty, staff and students from multiple disciplines and public health agencies across San Antonio.
H-E-B Student Union Ballroom (HSU 1.104), Main Campus
This exhibit highlights the UTSA Special Collections, which includes historic photographs from Texas, San Antonio and UTSA history.
UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, Hemisfair Campus
Come learn about the benefits available before the enrollment period July 15-31.
Business Building University Room (BB 2.06.04), Main Campus
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