US Survey Respondents Show Which State Shops Smartest Online – Take Our Quiz

Posted on Nov 20, 2023 by Kelly Damon

It’s the most wonderful time of the year — for scam artists. The more we’re distracted by holiday prep and festive cheer, the more opportunities cybercriminals have to target us. This is especially true now, with dazzling Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals bombarding us at every online storefront.

Outside of their usual tricks, all a scammer has to do is set up a fake deal, product, or coupon and wait for eager shoppers to take the bait. This begs the question, how vulnerable are you? 

We conducted a nationwide survey to find out how secure American shoppers are. Here you’ll find a summary of our key findings — and you can learn more about your own habits in a neat little quiz.

Concerned about your safety while spending? Don’t be. You can secure your online activity and protect your data with a quick and easy VPN download

Privacy Awareness in America Is Improving

We surveyed 2,500 Americans from across the US to get a feel for their online shopping awareness, concerns, and habits. The results are fascinating. 

quotes from survey respondents

Americans Prefer Brick and Mortar Stores Over Online Shopping

You’d think that after the lockdowns of 2020, the pendulum would have swung entirely to online conveniences, but our survey shows otherwise. A whopping 60% of participants said they plan to do their holiday shopping in person. By comparison, only 32% of participants prefer e-shopping and plan to make their holiday purchases online.

We asked participants what most influences where they choose to shop. Unsurprisingly, pricing and good deals, fast delivery, and reputable retailers ranked as the top deciding factors.

The Majority of Americans Take Precautions When Shopping Online

Scammers might be out in full force, but consumers are making stronger efforts to prevent cyber attacks.

  • 66% of respondents expressed privacy concerns when shopping online.
  • 57% of buyers research brands and check the small print before making a purchase.
  • 56% of participants take steps to verify website security.
  • 53% of people use two-factor authentication to protect their shopping accounts.
  • 40% of participants regularly use a password manager.

While these numbers speak for heightened cybersecurity awareness, our data also showed that only 35% of participants use a VPN while e-shopping.

Privacy Awareness Varies Significantly By State

map rating some states by digital privacy awareness

We took a particular interest in the different online shopping behaviors by state. Please note that we’ve only ranked the 30 states with a sufficient number of respondents to provide us with accurate data. 

Texans Scored the Highest in Privacy Awareness

We aggregated and graded privacy awareness by state, and Texas came out on top with a score of 6.08 out of 10. Connecticut isn’t too far behind with a score of 5.92. New York and Tennessee earn honorable mentions in third and fourth place, scoring 5.87 and 5.85 respectively.

Oregon Scored the Lowest

On the other end of the scale, a few states showed room for improvement. Missouri and Pennsylvania just fell short of the halfway mark, scoring 4.98 and 4.96. Georgia and Alabama trail behind with scores of 4.82 and 4.75.

Third from the bottom, we have Colorado ranking at 4.7, while Kentucky is near the end with a score of 4.62. Oregon ranked lowest, coming in at 4.13. 

The Northeast Has the Most Privacy Concerns

Regardless of the aggregates, a few states proved to be the most concerned when it comes to e-shopping. Massachusetts has the most apprehension, with 77% of participants expressing concern for data privacy while shopping online. Pennsylvania and Texas are a close second and third with 76% and 75% of respondents expressing the same worries. 

The Midwest and the Rockies Are the Least Concerned about Privacy

Going by the numbers, it’s no surprise Colorado and Missouri showed the least concern. In both states, 50% of respondents claimed they’re not too concerned about their personal data while e-shopping.

 table showing states' graded privacy scores

Privacy Awareness Is Improving, but Cybercrime Is Still Too High

The number of participants who take precautionary and protective measures to safeguard their privacy is promising. In a perfect world, the majority of Americans wouldn’t have to be suspicious of online shopping, but it’s a good sign they are. It means people are wiser about cybercrimes, and less likely to blindly fall for scams.

Even so, some numbers are troubling. 20% of respondents said they’ve lost money or sacrificed personal data to online scams, while 21% of participants specified they’d fallen victim to fake second-hand sellers found on Facebook Marketplace, eBay, and other community-driven platforms. 

quotes from survey respondents

Many participants came forward with horror stories of how they got scammed out of money or personal data. As one respondent told us, “On eBay, I bid on and won an iPhone. After my  payment had gone through, eBay reached out to me and informed me I was scammed, they returned my money and deleted that user’s info.” Another tried to give money to a good cause, only to find that someone impersonated the charity they hoped to donate to.

It’s good to know people are becoming more cautious, more knowledgeable, and more protective of their data — but online scams can happen to anyone, at any time, even the best of us. If our survey proves anything, it’s that we’re getting there, but we still have a long way to go.

quotes from survey respondents

Test Your Privacy Awareness

Think you can outsmart the cybercriminals this festive season? We, the privacy experts, will be the judge of that. Take our quiz and let us know how you did. It’ll only take a minute. Have fun!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *