56% of MEA Customers Trust Online services

A new global study has identified significant economic value in building digital trust. A 5% increase in digital trust results in an average increase in GDP per capita of US $3,000. The Digital Trust Index: the value of digital trust is seminal research, conducted by Callsign, the digital trust pioneer, and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), into the attitudes and drivers of digital trust across modern economies. The findings come at a critical time for the global economy with economic slowdowns occurring, building digital trust has the potential to unleash trillions of dollars in economic growth.

The new report has found that a ‘digital trust gap’ is also emerging around the world. Non-Western markets have a positive trust gap (South Africa (16%), MEA (15%), Brazil (6%) and APAC (5%)) indicating consumer attitudes to digital trust exceed societal trust levels. Conversely, Western markets have a negative trust gap (USA (-4%), Benelux (-6%), and Canada (-9%)) where societal trust is higher than digital trust. With more of consumers lives online, this is a critical differentiator for emerging markets as economies slow down. The potential to unleash GDP per capita growth from the digital economy may see emerging economies gain advantage in this new online era.

In the MEA region 56.3% of respondents say that online and digital services can be trusted. But in terms of the factors that negatively impact digital trust, 21.1% of MEA consumers said their experience with online fraud led to their distrust in online services. Other factors negatively impacting trust in online services include experience of data breaches, cited by 12.8% of MEA respondents. Further, 15% of MEA consumers believe that there is a lack of transparency in online and digital services, and 16.1% voiced concern that they do not always know how to use online and digital services safely leading to mistrust.

Saeed Ahmad, MD, Callsign MENA commented, “This research is groundbreaking because for the first time we are able to quantify the value of trust in our digital world both in economic terms and in societal terms. The results of this research should be a call to action for businesses and governments to work together to build a secure, ethical digital identity framework so that citizens can live digitally, safely, and to boost economic growth at this critical time”.

The digital economy is expected to grow from US $14.5 trillion in 2021 to US $20.8 trillion* by 2025, while the cost of online crime over the same period will rise from US $6 trillion to US $10.5 trillion. If business and governments want to harness the power of digital trust, they must tackle the foundational element, digital identity.

54% of consumers expect governments to create a more secure digital world. To achieve this, three quarters (77%) of respondents reported support for the creation of a digital identity system covering technology, process and data policies overseen by an independent body. Consumers would trust banks and financial services firms the most to create and maintain the system. 47% of those surveyed expect a digital identity system to be part of their everyday lives the next 12 months.

Ahmad continued, “The foundation of digital trust is our digital identities. We need to know who we are interacting with online to be able to trust in brands, transactions and people. Consumers in MEA want a secure digital world and governments want to continue to grow the digital economy in the region, they need to work with businesses to reap the benefits of the GDP per capita that building digital trust could bring. Our research demonstrates we have a trillion-dollar opportunity and given the global economic challenges today, we can’t afford to ignore it anymore”.