Mobile phone security concerns. Source: Shutterstock

If they want to avoid being cancelled, mobile app makers must make security a top priority, according to a new report from Appdome, a mobile integration platform provider based in Redwood City, Calif.

The results of Appdome’s 2021 Mobile Consumer Survey of 10,000 global mobile consumers demonstrated the importance of assuring app users that their data is secure by implementing in-app security and malware protection across all Android and iOS apps. Thirty-eight percent of respondents said they care more about security than features in the apps they use, 37% said the opposite is true, and 25% said they care about app security and features equally.

If an app didn’t protect them, their data and their use, 73% of respondents said they would stop using the app and 45% said they would tell their friends to stop using it. If an app was breached or hacked, 74% said they would discontinue use and 46% said they would tell friends to do the same. In addition, 55% said they would stop using an app if malware stole data stored within it, and 46% would abandon an app if it brought malware onto their device.

And the type of app is mostly irrelevant to consumers’ desire for security, the survey found. Fifty-seven percent of respondents said every app containing personally identifiable information (PII) should have the same level of security and 33% said all apps that allow in-app purchases should have the same level of security. When asked which types of apps used for transactions should be the most secure, banking and investment apps topped the list, with 33.6% stating those apps should be equipped with the highest level of protection.

What’s more, the survey found security concerns are consistent among users whether they are Team Android or Team iOS. Equal numbers of Android and iOS app users said they would dump an app – and tell friends to ditch it as well – if it didn’t protect them, their data or their use; was breached or hacked; let malware steal their data; brought malware onto their device; didn’t protect their credentials or allowed someone to spy on their app use.

“Mobile consumers have jumped past ‘security awareness,’ and now hold full-fledged expectations that security and malware prevention must be an embedded feature in every Android and iOS app,” the report stated. “App makers who do not provide the security and malware protections consumers expect will risk churn and cancel culture in their mobile business.”

Other findings from the survey included the following:

  • 63% said since COVID-19 (which resulted in an increased use of apps and in-app purchases for 58% of respondents), brands have a higher duty to protect their mobile customers.
  • Security expectations of female mobile app users were significant, with 67% stating they care a lot about security in apps compared with 55% of male respondents, and 69% of female respondents stating they care more about security than new features compared to 59% of males.
  • The majority of consumers across generations said they are more concerned about someone hacking an app they use versus a network-based threat.
  • 78% of U.S.-based survey respondents said they would stop using an app, and tell friends to stop using an app, if it doesn’t protect their use or data.