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Study: Brands with data breaches a turn-off to holiday shoppers

A majority of American shoppers will base their holiday shopping destinations on whether the retailer experienced a data breach in the past.

Eighty-four percent of respondents said their willingness to shop with some retailers will be impacted if the brand has experienced a data breach, according to a survey conducted by Generali Global Assistance (GGA), a provider of a proprietary identity and digital protection platform.

According to data, among those who plan to shop for the holidays, 75% expressed concern about their financial or personal information being compromised due to a data breach.

While the vast majority of Americans (91%) plan to do holiday shopping this season, most are skeptical that businesses are doing all that they can to protect their personal information. Meanwhile, 40% of consumers said businesses are not doing all they can to protect their personal information.

And their concerns span all channels. Just over half of shoppers (57%) believe a data breach of an online merchant will pose the greatest identity theft threat this holiday season, while 22% consider a data breach of a brick-and-mortar point-of-sale system to be the most acute risk.

Over half of all Americans (55%) would have more confidence that businesses are actively working to protect their data, and reduce their risk of identity theft or fraud, if companies offered identity protection services, whether for free or at a cost. Retail businesses that currently offer identity protection services, or that plan to do so in the future, instill greater confidence in 56% of Americans.

Data breaches — and identity theft — weigh much more heavily on holiday shoppers' minds than being pick-pocketed or robbed (11%), or having their car broken into (10%).

"Consumers are clearly more concerned than ever about identity theft and related issues as we enter the 2017 holiday season,” said Paige Schaffer, president and COO of Generali Global Assistance's Identity and Digital Protection Services Global Unit.

“With data breaches at major organizations occurring so frequently and impacting literally millions of people in the U.S. alone, consumer confidence in the ability of businesses to protect their data has been shaken,” said Schaffer. “This is why identity protection is so essential in this day-in-age. For many consumers, stress is at a year-round high during the holiday season. Offering identity protection is an effective way for businesses to help restore trust in their commitment to protecting customer data, as well as provide more peace-of-mind to consumers so they can focus what matters most to them this holiday season."

Despite concerns over data breaches, the most popular form of payment for holiday purchases this year will be credit cards, followed closely by cash (49%) and debit cards (41%). Only 8% of shoppers will pay with a check and just 3% will utilize mobile payments.

Data threats don’t seem to be impacting customers’ holiday budgets, as 40% of Americans plan to spend more than $500 this season. Meanwhile, 75% of holiday shoppers plan to do their shopping online, with 62% planning to shop via computer, and 30% planning to shop via a mobile device.

The same proportion of shoppers (75%) plan to visit a brick-and-mortar store. Whether they are brick-and-mortar or online stores, most holiday shoppers (63%) plan to shop at between one and five stores. Another 28% said they will shop at between six and 10 stores.

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