1 in 5 British Consumers Buy Software from Spam

Over 90% of UK online consumers receive spam and although only 23% of it is read, more than one in five British consumers (22%) has purchased software through spam, a study by Forrester research has shown.

The six country, 6,000 respondent survey that asked users about their attitudes towards unsolicited emails revealed that 37% of people are concerned that spammers will steal personal information and 40% of people feel that spam is harmful to overall online security.

Mike Newton, BSA spokesperson said, “Many online consumers don’t consider the true motives of spammers. In addition to profiting from selling goods and services and driving click through ad traffic, organised crime rings use spam to gain access to personal information. By selling software that appears to be legitimate in genuine looking packaging or through sophisticated websites, spammers are hiding spyware without consumers’ knowledge.

Once the software is installed on PCs and networks, information that is given over the internet can be obtained and abused. With €13 billion1 in European online sales predicted during the holiday season alone, it is important for consumers to stay alert.”

William Plante, senior director of corporate security and fraud protection for Symantec, comments, “Both industry and the media have helped to raise awareness of the issues that surround illegitimate email, helping to reduce the potential financial damage and nuisance from phishing attacks and spoof websites. At the same time, consumers need to continue exercising caution and protect themselves from harm with a mixture of spam filters, spyware detection software and sound judgement.”

Counterfeit goods don’t satisfy UK consumers
Another survey on behalf of the BSA, YouGov found that 75% of Brits that purchased counterfeit goods are now deterred from buying fakes in the future because they have had bad experiences.

Copyright infringement is not a victimless crime
In July, IDC found that one in three (29%) of software used in the UK is pirated at a cost to UK software publishers of over 800 million pounds.

Siobhan Carroll Regional Manager Northern Europe, BSA said, ‘The YouGov survey we completed found that 81% of UK shoppers think it’s totally unacceptable to shoplift from a major supermarket but only 33% feel the same way about downloading counterfeit software from the internet. People must understand that downloading software or purchasing counterfeit packaged software is breaking the law.”

Consumers Top Three Concerns When Buying Software From Spam 



  1. Overall online security (40%)
  2. Virus concerns (39%) 
  3. Theft of personal information (37%)

  1. Overall online security (38%)
  2. Theft of personal information (35%)
  3. Virus concerns (34%)

Percentage of consumers that have made purchases from spam

Percentage of consumers that have made purchases from spam

Percentage of online consumers that have purchased items from spam broken down by country and item purchased

British Software Alliance

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