Security means opportunity on the youth market

Internet safety is a strong selling point

Today's young people are tomorrow's decision-makers. The wisdom of that old saying is recognised by many manufacturers and service providers, for whom young people form an important target group. And such companies would do well to make cybersecurity a distinctive selling point, according to a GfK survey of trends in online security & e-identity undertaken for SIDN and Connectis.

Smart devices on the rise

More and more goods and services are making use of the internet. Sometimes to enable ancillary processes, as with a grocery shopping app. Increasingly, though, internet functionality is integral to the product or service itself. That's the case with smart lights and thermostats, for example. Built-in internet functionality is great, of course. But also a source of risk, because an internet connection is a gateway for outside interference. Our survey showed that young people (under-24s) and older people (over-65s) are most aware of such risks. More than 75 per cent of people in those age groups said that the rise of smart devices made the internet less secure.

Chart-6 S&I post

Suppliers have full responsibility for security

Despite similar awareness levels, young people and older people view security risks in very different ways. Older people regard security as their own responsibility, and are more likely to act accordingly. By contrast, the young think that companies and the government should protect them. For example, more than 40 per cent of young people believe that the security of an internet-enabled device is the responsibility of the supplier alone. In all other age groups, the percentage taking that view was lower.


From our research, it's clear that a commercial opportunity exists. For the great majority of young people, security is a factor in purchasing decisions, albeit rarely the decisive factor. And respect for privacy is seen as part and parcel of the supplier's security responsibilities.

Chart-13 S&I post

Make security a selling point

Our findings are backed up by the results of other research into online security and consumer behaviour. Time and again, studies carried out around the world have shown that, for the young, online security is more than a hygiene factor. Any enterprise looking to win this group's approval should therefore make security a selling point. Tell consumers what you're doing to make your products and services secure!

Be good and tell it

Don't dismiss online security lightly as irrelevant to your organisation. As the experts we consulted said, nowadays every business is an IT business. And, with the rise of the IoT, more and more are internet businesses. Although the best approach will vary from one company to another, the message is clear: be good and tell it! Read the full report Trends in Online Security & e-Identity.



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