A new survey of UK consumers has found strong reluctance to use social media or the telephone when purchasing items, on security grounds.

Aspect Software conducted the online survey with 100 people, of whom 63% were aged 25-44, 21%, 45-54 and 10%, 16-24.

69 per cent of respondents had security concerns over payment/ personal details and 60 per cent had concerns over social media channels being at risk of phishing attempts or fraudulent profiles.

A majority of respondents said they would not consider using SMS, social media Messaging (Facebook, WhatsApp), Web/Live chat, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or the telephone when purchasing items.

Aspect’s researchers say that while social media channels are still widely used for research purposes, the end purchase is carried out elsewhere, either in store or directly through the organisation’s website.

Almost half (48 per cent) of respondents to the survey said they had used a text-based channel (including social media, email and mobile app) to make an enquiry in the last 12 months, and 27 per cent made a complaint via the same platforms.

Aspect comments that businesses wishing to develop a seamless omni-channel purchasing experience need to show these communication channels are secure as consumers are still happy to purchase via email (83 per cent) and mobile applications (75 per cent).

Mobile applications were the most popular channel for making purchases in the last 12 months (59 per cent). A lack of confidence in the purchasing stage was highlighted further as only 16 per cent of respondents said they don’t use these communication channels.

Stephen Ball, Senior VP Sales in Europe & Africa at Aspect Software says that security concerns should be a top priority for retailers in 2017, following a year of headline data breaches: “In 2016, we saw numerous large organisations exposed to data breaches so it is understandable that security concerns over personal details and payments are very high.

“Brands need to be showing how secure their communication channels are across every outlet, not only to increase sales via these channels but to improve confidence in the whole brand. It is clear that a large majority of consumers are using these communication channels in some way or another, so it is important for retailers to find a way to exploit this platform,” concluded Ball.

This was the first survey conducted by Aspect that has asked these questions, but similar surveys by other agencies have produced similar results, an Aspect researcher commented.