Lack of Trust Hampering App Downloads: MEF Global Consumer Trust Report 2015

February 4th 2015

  • Half of all consumers surveyed (49%) say a lack of trust limits the amount of apps they download, compared to 37% last year

  • A third (34%) say trust prevents them from buying more goods and services using their mobile device

  • 72% of mobile consumers are not happy sharing personal data such as location or contact details when using an app

MEF, the global community for mobile content and commerce, today announced the results of its third annual Global Consumer Trust Report.  The report, supported by AVG Technologies N.V. (NYSE: AVG), analyses data from 15,000 mobile media users in 15 countries across five continents.

The study explores the key areas of trust, privacy, transparency and security to identify their impact on mobile consumers globally from purchasing a new device to downloading apps or paying for goods and services.

The impact of trust

Trust remains the largest single obstacle to growth in the mobile content and commerce industry. 40 per cent of respondents indicated that a lack of trust is the number one factor that prevents them from downloading items more often.

This is particularly the case with apps – where almost half of respondents (49 per cent) said that trust prevented them from downloading apps or using them once they are installed. Over a third (34 per cent) said it stopped them buying any mobile apps and services. The US experienced the largest increase in a lack of trust of the markets studied, at 35 per cent (up nine per cent year-on-year).

App privacy expectations

Alongside this growing mistrust, the study also revealed an increase in resistance to sharing personal information such as location, address book details or health records, with apps. 72 per cent of mobile users said that they are not happy sharing such information and almost two in five (39 per cent) claimed never to do so.

Linked to this unease, is the need to improve the way apps communicate about the data they collect. Many consumers feel that app stores and device manufacturers should take greater responsibility for protecting their personal information. 30 per cent of respondents said this would foster greater trust in the mobile platforms and 63 per cent said that they considered transparency important or extremely important (compared to 49 per cent last year).

Methods of self-protection have also decreased across the board – with less people taking the time to read app store descriptions, long privacy documents or ask friends and family for advice. The most popular method for self-protection was ‘downloading a privacy protection app’, at 31 per cent. 

The need to protect devices

While the results showed that the threat of malware is rising in consumers’ consciousness – with most people acknowledging that it is likely to affect them – caution around malware has decreased. Only 48 per cent of respondents said malware would make them think twice when downloading apps compared with 74 per cent last year.

 “Andrew Bud, MEF Global Chair, said: “Trust is the most important asset of any business, and consumer confidence must underpin the mobile ecosystem.  The sustainability of the mobile industry depends on it. As mobile devices and services evolve, consumers will hold business ever more accountable.

“MEF’s 2015 Consumer Trust Report highlights how trust issues are impacting consumer behaviours in different markets.  It is absolutely clear that the mobile industry must create equitable, informed partnerships with consumers, putting trust at the centre of the relationship. Consumer trust must be earned by consistently applying high levels of transparency, security and privacy to every mobile interaction.” 

Judith Bitterli, Chief Marketing Officer at AVG Technologies, added: “Building consumer trust is an integrated process. While the mobile industry across the board must step up and take responsibility for increasing transparency across user privacy policies, it is equally important that consumers take their own steps to educate and protect themselves in order to better protect their rights and understand their choices online. This research shows that while consumers are taking certain proactive steps towards greater protection there is still some way to go in order to ensure their privacy and security are not at risk.”

Part of MEF’s ongoing activities to champion and advance consumer trust in the mobile industry, the annual Global Consumer Trust Report is now in its third year and provides vital data, analysis and insights on how consumers consider the efforts of the mobile industry in tackling the trust issues that affect their ongoing participation in every aspect of mobile content and commerce.

MEF Members can download the free report now