Privacy Concerns Could Chill E-Retail

San Francisco, The threat of identity theft has moved to the forefront of consumers’ minds, and that could spell bad news for e-retailing. A new survey by San Francisco-based on-line privacy organization TRUSTe and Greenwich, Conn.-based marketing-information company TNS found that 58% of consumers may reduce their on-line shopping this holiday season due to identity theft and other privacy concerns. That’s up from 49% who said the same thing last year.

Fear of spyware and spam are discouraging holiday shoppers from going on line, too, the survey of 1,071 consumers found. Forty-four percent of respondents said that they would avoid on-line shopping because they were afraid they might inadvertently download spyware. And 42% of consumers cited fear of receiving spam after purchasing from a Web site.

Eight percent of those polled are so spooked by e-retail that they plan to avoid the medium entirely.