November 16, 2007, 12:00 AM

45% of U.S. adults shop online, but security concerns hold others back

45% of U.S. adults shop online, and 87% of them will buy at least as much via the web during the holidays as they did last year, according to a Harris Interactive survey. 60% of non-shoppers cite security concerns as a reason why they stick with stores.

A new survey shows 45% of U.S. adults shop online, but that security remains a big concern for those who stick to buying in stores.

Among those who do not shop online, 60% cited as a reason not wanting to give out personal information online, in the Harris Interactive survey conducted for Microsoft Corp. The most common reasons for not shopping online were preferring to see products in person, cited by 83% of those who don’t shop online, enjoying the store experience (80%) and being able to shop more thoroughly in a retail location (71%).

A fair number of consumers say they have personally experienced online fraud. 20% of online shoppers and 14% of all those surveyed said they had been tricked into clicking on a link or ad that turned out to be fraudulent, and 19% of shoppers and 13% of adults said they had been tricked into opening an e-mail that turned out to be fraudulent. 7% of online shoppers and 5% of all respondents said they had lost money as a result of an online scam and 4% of web shoppers and 3% of all adults said they became victims of identify theft as a result of an online scam.

The telephone survey of 1,011 adults was conducted Oct. 11 to 14. Here are some other findings:

  • Among those who plan to shop online, 3% say they will do all their holiday shopping via the web and 16% most of it.
  • 74% of online shoppers say they will do about the same amount of shopping online this year as last; 13% more and 12% less.
  • The freedom to shop at any time was the online shopping benefit cited most often by web shoppers (90%); 77% cited more choices and 62% savings.
  • 37% of Internet users said they would be more likely to open an e-mail from an unknown retailer if it offered free shipping (37%), a special discount (35%), brand name items (25%) and coupons (18%).
  • 41% of online shoppers say they expect to shop online the first Monday after Thanksgiving.
  • Online shoppers say they do 81% of their online holiday buying at home, 14% at work and 5% through other Internet-connected devices.
  • 19% of respondents say they use the Internet but never shop online.

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