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Festive Gift Buying Goes Mobile in 2011: Webroot Research

Thu, 11/17/2011 - 1:06pm
The power and portability of smartphones and tablets will save time and money for many people this holiday season. Over two times more shoppers plan to purchase gifts and 50 per cent more plan to book travel using their mobile devices this year, according to new research from Webroot, a leader in delivering Internet security as a service. But convenience may come at a cost for those who skip certain measures to secure their devices and personal data.

In a survey of 1,215 mobile device users, Webroot assessed people’s preferences for using mobile devices versus traditional means for researching and buying Christmas gifts, and for planning and booking trips. In addition, Webroot explored how people secure themselves on their mobile devices.

Webroot found that 50 per cent are likely to purchase Christmas gifts using their smartphone or tablet this year – up from 22 per cent who did so in 2010. Additionally, one third (33 per cent) of respondents plan to use their mobile devices to book travel, up from 22 per cent who did so in 2010. But only 40 per cent of respondents have a security app installed to block threats or remotely lock and locate a lost device, and a surprising 53 per cent leave their devices unlocked – potentially exposing their personal information to prying eyes.

“People using mobile devices are exposed to a new set of online risks: cybercriminals seed mobile markets with malicious apps that can steal your personal data or send texts and SMS messages to premium numbers. And because of their size, smartphones and tablets are easier to lose or have stolen than laptops and notebooks, which puts the vast amounts of personal data stored on them at risk. Mobile security services are now a must - lost device protection, secure web browsing, and antimalware provide essential protection,” said Chad Bacher, vice president of Mobile Solutions at Webroot.

Webroot found several differences between how US and UK residents prefer to use their mobile devices during the festive season. Webroot also found several key differences in behavior among age groups, gender, and people using devices on the AndroidTM and iOS operating systems.

Key Findings:
The US favors mobile devices for Christmas shopping while the UK leverages them for travel planning:
• UK travellers use their mobile devices more intensively than those in the US while planning trips this festive season:
o 80 per cent of UK travellers use mobile devices to compare hotel or ticket prices versus 72 per cent in the US
o 56 per cent of UK respondents download boarding passes versus 44 per cent in the US
o Almost half (46 per cent) of UK mobile device users purchase tickets versus 32 per cent in the US
• US shoppers rely on their mobile devices more than those in the UK while Christmas gift-buying:
o 55 per cent scan barcodes versus 44 per cent of UK users
o 45 per cent scan QR codes versus 36 per cent in the UK
o At the same time, 68 per cent of US respondents indicated they also plan to shop at brick-and-mortar retail stores, versus 48 per cent of UK shoppers

Android device users are more concerned about securing their holiday shopping and travel details:
• Android and iOS device users protect themselves at roughly the same rate (44 per cent and 38 per cent, respectively)
• However, Android users are more concerned about the security of information.
o 64 per cent of Android users are concerned (compared with 52 per cent of iOS users)
• Android users also take more steps to protect their devices.
o 60 per cent ensure their security software is up-to-date (versus 47 per cent of iOS users)
o 43 per cent avoid using mobile retail apps that store credit card information (vs. 33 percent of iOS users).
• Android users and iOS users prefer to use a mobile app rather than a browser when holiday gift shopping at about the same rate (45 per cent of Android users; 48 per cent of iOS users)

Men are savvier than women at securing themselves on their mobile devices:
• 44 per cent of men versus 37 per cent of women have security services on their devices
• More than half (51 per cent) of men lock their devices versus 43 per cent of women
• 57 per cent of men limit the sites they visit when connecting from an unfamiliar network versus 48 per cent of women.

UK device users are savvier about certain mobile security protection measures:
• 55 per cent use the lock device feature versus 42 percent of US respondents
• 39 per cent look for the lock graphic on a status bar versus 28 percent of US shoppers

Younger users do more on their devices during the holidays, but older users are more security-minded:
• People 50 and above are more likely to have security on their device.
o 44 per cent of users 50 and above, versus 38 per cent under 50
• Younger mobile shoppers (18 to 29) are more likely than all others to:
o Use their mobile devices to compare prices (91 per cent versus 83 per cent of shoppers 30 years or older),
o Download coupons (81 per cent versus 67 per cent of those 30 and older), and
o Search for Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals (69 per cent versus 50 per cent of those 30 or older).
• Younger mobile shoppers lock their devices at a greater rate than older users
o 56 per cent of 18-29 year olds versus 44 per cent of those 30 or older

Securing Mobile Devices

Webroot security experts recommend three key steps for securing mobile devices:
• Know your apps: Download apps only from a trusted source, like the Google Market, Apple App Store or Amazon App Store. Closely scrutinize the permissions the app requests, and don't install it if it wants to access certain functions that it doesn’t need, such as the ability to send SMS messages. User reviews are also helpful
• Lock your device: Most smartphones and tablets give you a choice of locking the device with a password, numeric code or pattern. Take advantage of this – if nothing else, you’ll prevent practical jokesters from emailing your boss if you leave your device unattended
• Explore mobile security services: Mobile security apps provide lost device protection, secure web browsing, and antimalware services. Webroot offers several free and premium versions of Webroot® SecureAnywhere™ for protecting devices on the iOS and Android operating systems

About the Research
Webroot conducted a blind online survey November 4-7, 2011 in the United States and United Kingdom, using Research Now panel members. Respondents qualified for the survey if they were at least 18 years old, own a smartphone or tablet, and plan to purchase holiday gifts and/or make holiday travel arrangements using a smartphone or tablet. The margin of error in the United States is ±3.6 (835 respondents), and ±4.4 in the United Kingdom (490 respondents). 

For more information, visit http://www.webroot.com.



Posted by Janine E. Mooney, Editor

November 17, 2011
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