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Six in 10 British consumers concerned about how their connected device collects data, says a study with implications for the rise of voice shopping

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Six in 10 (64%) British consumers are concerned about the way their connected device collects data – while 66% think their connected device is creepy, according to a new study that could have implications for how quickly consumers adopt voice ordering in online commerce. 

The study, from the Internet Society and Consumers International, questioned 6,000 respondents in the UK, Australia,Canada, France, Japan and the USA, and found that 69% owned a connected device, from smart meters and fitness monitors, through to gaming consoles, connected toys or home assistants. In the UK, 59% of respondents who owned a connected device agree that they are “creepy” in the way they collect data about people and their behaviour, the study found.

This has implications for the rise of voice shopping in ecommerce. Home assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home are used for voice shopping and are also being introduced into cars, either pre-installed in connected vehicles or simply added into non-connected cars via mobile versions of Echo or Home. They are also available on some smartphones. This study points to very real concerns that might mean the companies behind such home assistants come up against barriers in adoption. 

More than three-quarters (77%) of consumers across markets told the survey, conducted by Ipsos Mori, that information about privacy and security were important considerations when they consider buying, while 28% of those consumers who don’t have a connected device said they didn’t buy smart products because of these concerns. There have been a number of high profile headlines regarding data breaches or inadvertent ordering, while testing by consumer organisations has found that some products have been rushed to market with little consideration for security and privacy protection, says the Internet Society.

“The survey results underscore the need for IoT manufacturers to build their devices with security and privacy in mind,” said Andrew Sullivan, president and chief executive of the Internet Society.

“Security should not be an afterthought. It’s clear that manufacturers and retailers need to do more so that consumers can trust their IoT devices.”

The study found that 85% of Brits agree that manufacturers should only produce connected devices that protect privacy and security, and 86% of Brits say retailers should ensure the connected devices they sell have good privacy and security standards.

Helena Leurent, director general of Consumers International, said: “Consumers have told us they accept that they have some responsibility for the security and privacy of their IoT products but that isn’t the end of the story. They, and we, want to see tangible action from manufacturers, retailers, and governments on this issue. It has to be a collective effort, not the responsibility of one group. We are exploring this conversation with progressive manufacturers. Together we are looking at the opportunity to create person-centered technology, that people not only enjoy using, but feel safe and secure doing so. By doing this business can address the concerns of those not engaging with this tech, and open up the benefits of the Internet of Things to everyone.”

An infographic of the findings is available here.

Image: InternetRetailing Media/Paul Skeldon

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