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Digital Adoption Rising But Privacy, Security Remain Top Concern Among Indian Users: IBM Survey

Around 51 per cent of respondents in India would remove permission for an application track behaviour if the app were tracking activity across other apps and websites

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In growing signs of digital adoption, a survey has showed that interactions of people in India with all types of businesses through websites and mobile apps grew further during the COVID-19 pandemic, though privacy and security remained their concerns.

According to a survey report of IT company IBM, respondents over 35 saw the largest increase in digital interactions during the pandemic, though all age groups saw at least some increases.

'Indian respondents interacted with all types of businesses/organisations through websites and mobile apps more during COVID, especially banking (65 per cent) and shopping/retail (54 per cent). The survey conducted between March 12-26, however, found that more than half of respondents remove tracking permission of apps if it tracks activity of users across other apps and websites.

'The big takeaway from this survey is that consumers have become accustomed to the convenience of digital interactions during the pandemic, and this trend is expected to continue even after society returns to pre-pandemic norms,' Prashant Bhatkal, Security Software Sales Leader, IBM Technology Sales, India and South Asia, said in a statement.

Indian respondents, the survey revealed, created about 19 new online accounts during the pandemic across all categories, and on average, created 3 new accounts for social media and entertainment.

Those in the age bracket of over 50 years created about 27 new online accounts during the pandemic across all categories and created more new accounts across each category than any other age group, according to the survey report.

Nearly half (47 per cent) of Indian respondents mostly or always re-use the same credentials they have used for other accounts, and 17 per cent have an even mix of re-used credentials and new credentials.

The survey found half of respondents in the age bracket of 35-49-year always or mostly re-use the same credentials that they have used for other accounts.

Around 57 per cent Indian respondents across all demographics, except GenZers, prefer placing and paying for an order digitally than going to a physical location or call to place an order even if they had concerns about the website or app's safety or privacy.

'Security and privacy were top reasons to avoid using an app – but most still choose to use either way. About four in ten Indian respondents would avoid using an online platform to shop or place an order over concerns over app or website privacy (40 per cent) and concerns over an app or website security (38 per cent),' the report said.

Around 51 per cent of respondents in India would remove permission for an application track behaviour if the app were tracking activity across other apps and websites, the report said.

Over half of Indian respondents trust healthcare (51 per cent) and banking/financial institutions (56 per cent) a lot to protect their personal/sensitive information while social media is 'most distrusted' with 22 per cent saying they trust those businesses 'not much' or 'not at all'.

'The need of the hour is to provide a frictionless user experience across digital platforms while creating a stronger security posture and limiting potential risk. To assure the greatest levels of security, companies in India must adopt a 'Zero-trust' approach, develop and understand the context around every user, every device, and every interaction making it a mission-critical agenda,' Bhatkal said.

IBM said that the study was conducted among 22,000 adults with 1,000 each in 22 markets including India. 

(PTI)