Australian consumers reluctant to use biometric-based security measures for ecommerce

Wednesday, 28th May 2014

When it comes to using biometrics in ecommerce, Australian consumers are highly reluctant because they are concerned about the security of their personal data.

"Australians are more willing to have biometric-based security measures to verify the identity of passengers boarding aircraft at airports. Results shows that 75% of Australians mentioned they were willing to provide biometric information such as a fingerprint or photo so that an automated boarding gate could confirm their identities when they boarded a flight. Moreover, 71% of Australians said that they would be willing to provide personal biometric data to prove their identities as frequent travelers of low security risk."

"Only 33% of Australians declared they were willing to provide biometric information in order to access customised retail offers in the airport. And 63% said they were not willing to do so."

"The overall index for 2014 is 106 out of 300, down 23 points compared to the last survey in 2013. This means that Australians are considered “moderately concerned”. The top two areas of security concern for Australians are related to identity theft."

More info here.

Chinese online retail sales at all-time high in 2013 - report

Wednesday, 28th May 2014

For 2013, Chinese online retail sales have exceeded those in the US, thus gaining the first place in the world for ecommerce sales.

"China’s ecommerce and delivery industry both benefited from growth between 2006 and 2013, tripling the numbers to account to USD 294 billion (CNY 1.8 trillion) in 2013. The Chinese delivery industry is currently the second largest in the world."

"In the five years starting with 2008, China’s online shopping market had a constant annual growth rate of 70%, with 70 up to 300 million online shoppers. Out of the entire retail sector, online shopping initially made up for 1.3%, then jumped at 7.4%, according to insight provided by Wind Information."

"Findings indicate there was also an increase in what concerns the frequency of online transactions. In 2012, around 54% of consumers made online purchases more than ten times, and within this percentage, those who made more than USD 800 (CNY 5,000) per month doubled from 2008 to nearly 20%."

More info here.

Home ownership in Greece 'a sick joke' as property market collapses

Tuesday, 27th May 2014

According to The Guardian, Greece has suffered the second biggest property crash in the EU since the debt crisis began.

"At all hours, people call in wanting to sell or wanting to rent or wanting to expand because places now are so much cheaper. (...) Last year, there were just 3,600 sales in all of Athens – I repeat, all of Athens."

"In a market that has hit rock bottom in the maelstrom of Greece's financial meltdown, basement flats are selling for as little as €5,000 (£4,150) in the less salubrious parts of Athens. On the isle of Mykonos, cash-strapped Greek celebrities have been selling luxury villas for a song."

"Greece's social and economic crash is reflected in its property slump. Data released by Eurostat, the EU's statistics agency, earlier this month showed that the country had suffered the second steepest decline in house prices after Croatia, the bloc's newest member."

"Since the outbreak of the Greek debt crisis four years ago, property values nationwide have dropped by around 32%, according to the Bank of Greece; estate agents contacted by the Guardian estimated the decline at nearer 50%."

"The situation, says Bletas, is so dire that home ownership – at nearly 87% the highest in the EU – has become cause for black humour. "The joke now doing the rounds is: if you want to punish your child, you threaten to pass on property to them," he said. "Greeks traditionally have always regarded property as a secure investment. But now it has become a huge millstone, given that the tax burden has increased sevenfold in the past two years alone.""

"At no time has there been such a glut of property on the market, according to the Hellenic Property Federation (Pomida), which reckons more than 500,000 property owners want to sell. Across Greece, about 300,000 residences are believed to be empty."

"For northern Europeans who want to buy a holiday home or a plot to develop for business, it's a golden opportunity," says Stratos Paravias, Pomida's president. "The tax burden is not so big when you have one property; it is when [like most Greeks] you have two or more."

"With the market's stagnation also being blamed for the lack of liquidity in Greece, politicians across the board are quietly hoping that non-Greeks will help save the day."

"We are in a very peculiar situation where prices are falling but the market isn't moving. If the recession eases in Europe, and foreigners start to return, it would be part of the solution to one of Greece's biggest problems."

More info here.

The project has made a strategic decision to look into the real estate sector in terms of cross border sales potential. It makes sense business-wise to focus on cross-border sales of properties as this is something that is currently being pursued also at governmental level in Greece through the selling of key properties mainly for touristic exploitation by foreign investment groups.

Selling houses cross-border is not something new for Greece were Northern Europeans have been investing on retirement houses for many years now leading to the development of complete communities of foreigners in several islands and coastal areas.

However, this business was always operated by foreign real estate agents on local level (e.g. U.K.) who identified the potential very early. e-Commerce will give the opportunity to local real estate businesses to sell cross-borders smaller properties to a much wider audience, potentially leading even to an increase in pricing through bigger demand for properties which are now on a stand still.

This is were the e-Commerce "Genie" is strategically aiming to make a difference in for the real estate sector.

Fighting Cross-Merchant Fraud

Tuesday, 27th May 2014 published an article on fighting cross-merchant fraud.

"While ecommerce has opened up international expansion opportunities for merchants, it has also broadened the options for fraudsters. Fraudsters generally don’t respect geographic boundaries, often focusing their efforts on particular product types or market sectors. They may well target several merchants within a sector, moving quickly from one ecommerce site to another and using the same personally identifiable information to make purchases from a series of merchants within a very short time. This creates a big challenge for ecommerce merchants of all kinds, irrespective of location and trading regions."

Cross Merchant Fraud


"The only truly effective defence against this kind of cross-merchant fraud is the ability to access and analyse relevant fraud intelligence from beyond your own organisation – and to adapt fraud rules quickly, in response to what you see."

"The greatest value can come from sharing data, between merchants in the same sector, but also across geographies and industries. Exchanging and analysing relational information (information that is associated with fraudulent behaviour) such as card number, email address, shipping address, customer ID, phone number and device ID can significantly increase the chances of accurately detecting fraud, and enabling merchants to take relevant action. Tracking relational data is especially important in countering cross-merchant fraud organised on an industrial scale."

"Merchants can also optimise fraud detection by combining their fraud rules with a neural score. Neural network technology can accurately detect changing patterns of anomalistic purchase behaviour across merchants – behaviour that is not generally detected by non-linear algorithms or static rules. Selecting a fraud solution which incorporates a neural network can give merchants a critical advantage in the fight against fraud, especially when fraudsters use the same cardholder information at multiple online merchants, both within short and prolonged periods."

MEP Schaake advocates the need for a Digital Committee in the European Parliament

Tuesday, 27th May 2014

Member of European Parliament (MEP) Marietje Schaake calls for the creation of a European Parliament Committee that is exclusively devoted to Digital Affairs and Technology.

"MEP Schaake elaborated that although new technologies have changed societies the European Parliament still has not broached the subject yet."

"European Parliamentary committees are divided in 20 committees, each focusing on a specially designated topic. For the ecommerce sector, this has proven problematic in the past: the ecommerce sector is affected by various topics such as payments, privacy and transport. Yet all this parallel policy areas have often moved in different directions which proved to be detrimental for the industry in some cases."

"Schaake thinks that by issuing one digital themes-related committee, from net neutrality to copyright and from cyber security to internet governance, one could better allocate the knowledge and resources."

"She also thinks that power division among committees is a reflection of the past and that Europe should turn competitive and innovative, starting with European Parliament’s priorities which, before all, should keep pace with developments in technology."

More info here.

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