Academic journal article Journal of Electronic Commerce Research

Facilitating Global E-Commerce: A Comparison of Consumers' Willingness to Disclose Personal Information Online in the U.S. and in India

Academic journal article Journal of Electronic Commerce Research

Facilitating Global E-Commerce: A Comparison of Consumers' Willingness to Disclose Personal Information Online in the U.S. and in India

Article excerpt


Consumers' privacy and security concerns are magnified as companies rely on worldwide networks for electronic commerce. Global businesses that can persuade consumers to disclose their personal information online are more likely to provide better service and product delivery. In this research, we conducted an empirical study of 809 consumers in the U.S. and India to investigate their online information disclosing behavior and their intentions to take and execute protective measures during online interactions. Results suggest that there are significant differences between American and Indian consumers with regards to their willingness to disclose personal information (WDPI), and their intentions and actions for privacy and security protection. We find that Indian consumers are more willing to disclose potentially sensitive personal information, and U.S. consumers intend to and engage in higher passive privacy protection actions compared to Indians. Thus, cultural differences influence consumers' WDPI and their online privacy protection behavior. These findings have implications for companies to consider cultural differences when conducting global e-commerce, indicating a need for a localization approach.

Keywords: online privacy, online security, information disclosure, online consumer behavior, cultural differences, U.S., India

1. Introduction

Across the globe, businesses and organizations rely on personal information disclosed by consumers during online transactions to develop strategies to enhance the online experience and maximize profitability. Companies that can influence their customers to disclose personal information online are likely to have greater opportunities to leverage the online channel to increase revenues. However, research indicates that issues such as privacy and security of networks and encryption policies influence adoption and success of e-commerce practices [Brown & Muchira, 2004; Painea, Reipsb, Stiegerc, Joinsona & Buchanan, 2007].

The degree of privacy sensitivity and privacy concerns for data protection of citizens may be rooted in cultural differences among nations [Pavlou and Chai, 2002; Rudraswamy and Vance, 2001]. Although there are studies in the U.S. that have investigated the willingness of consumers to disclose personal information online [Earp and Baumer, 2003; Son and Kim, 2008], there is little cross-cultural research that provides granular details on the types of personal information consumers are willing to disclose online and any differences across cultures [Meinert, Peterson, Criswell, and Crossland, 2006]. This study fills this gap in the literature by comparing consumers. willingness to disclose different types of personal information between two countries: the U.S. and India. In addition, given that privacy concerns continue to be a major barrier to e-commerce growth [Hann, Hui, Lee, and Png, 2007; Painea et al. 2007], this study empirically examines consumers. willingness to disclose personal information (WDPI) with the protective measures they take and how these behaviors differ across two different cultures: Indian and American.

Examining these issues is important for two major reasons. First, global companies that better understand the differences in consumer intention and practices towards protecting privacy and security and consumers. willingness to disclose information are then likely to be poised for e-commerce growth by utilizing that information. Second, since U.S.-based and multinational companies have many outsourcing contracts with Indian companies, understanding the protective intentions and actions of Indian users regarding disclosing personal information is critical to sustaining business profitability. In a recent study, Kumaraguru, Cranor, and Newton [2005] found that Indians and Americans have differing levels of concerns about online privacy, and that the U.S. consumers are more aware of online privacy issues. …

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