Despite Significant Security Concerns, Few Smartphone Owners Have Actually Done Anything About It

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According to The NPD Group’s“Emerging Technology Trends: Mobile Security” report, only 6 percent of iPhone users have installed security software on their devices.

Even though iPhone users are less concerned than Android users about device security, they are still clearly worried.

According to a new report from The NPD Group, a leading market research company, smartphone users are concerned about security threats to their phones; however, very few of them have taken any action to assuage those concerns. Nearly 40 percent of all smartphone users are concerned about threats such as activity monitoring, hacking, and credit-card security, and viruses, while more than one-third are worried about harmful apps, malicious emails, and the potential for user-location tracking.

Among smartphone users, 82 percent have no security products installed on their phones; however, the percentage of users addressing this concern varies by platform, according to NPD’s “Emerging Technology Trends: Mobile Security” report. Although iPhone and Android smartphone owners share similar security concerns, 30 percent of Android smartphone owners have installed security products on their phones, compared to just 6 percent of iPhone owners.

“Even though iPhone users are less concerned than Android users about device security, they are still clearly worried,” said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis for NPD. ”Their biggest concerns were much more likely to be fears that their iPhone would be stolen or damaged, than any unwanted or harmful activities.”

[Data Table]

Security Concern |    All Smartphones |    Android |    iPhone
Having credit card information stolen |    43% |    46% |    38%
Unknowingly having my activities monitored |    43% |    45% |    42%
Hackers accessing my files or personal information |    42% |    46% |    37%
Device theft/loss |    41% |    42% |    45%
Acquiring viruses/spyware |    40% |    43% |    37%
Downloading apps that might harm my device |    38% |    43% |    34%
Receiving Unwanted or dangerous spam email or text messages |    38% |    39% |    38%
Unwanted personal location tracking |    37% |    38% |    34%

“While smartphone owners are worried about security threats, they are also thoroughly confused about what to do about them,” Baker said. In fact NPD’s report shows that 83 percent of all smartphone owners who have not installed security would be motivated to do so if they were to encounter harmful virus, spam, or other event; however, more than 25 percent of smartphone owners (and 35 percent of iPhone owners) don’t know how to acquire security software for their devices.

Approximately one quarter of all smartphone owners who have no security felt security products were too expensive; yet, among those owners with security products installed, 75 percent paid nothing, and the mean price paid was less than $3. “Consumers are both unaware of security for their phones and reluctant to pay for it when they are aware,” Baker said.

Information in NPD’s “Emerging Technology Trends: Mobile Security” report is based on online surveys fielded in July 2011 to a representative sample of 1,085 panelists from NPD’s online panel. Results were balanced to represent the U.S. adult population.

About The NPD Group, Inc.
The NPD Group is the leading provider of reliable and comprehensive consumer and retail information for a wide range of industries. Today, more than 1,800 manufacturers, retailers, and service companies rely on NPD to help them drive critical business decisions at the global, national, and local market levels. NPD helps our clients to identify new business opportunities and guide product development, marketing, sales, merchandising, and other functions. Information is available for the following industry sectors: automotive, beauty, entertainment, fashion, food, home and office, sports, technology, toys, video games, and wireless. For more information, contact us, visit, or follow us Twitter at


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