Just under half of U.S. consumers with payment cards say they would avoid shopping this holiday season at retailers who suffered data breaches in the past year, Chain Store Age reported.
But there’s a big problem with that statistic: Historically, even huge data breaches have rarely made much of a dent in retailers’ traffic and sales.
According to results from the random survey of 865 adults for CreditCards.com, 16 percent said they would “definitely not” shop at breached retailers’ stores, and 29 percent said they would “probably not,” while 41 percent said they “probably would” and 11 percent reported they “definitely would.” Cardholders with incomes above $75,000 were the least likely to just say no to breached merchants, while those over 65 were most likely to say they would stay away from breach victims.
That’s what they say. But after suffering the largest retailer data breach in history in 2007, TJX (parent of TJ Maxx and Marshall’s) didn’t see its revenue or stock price dented, even with up to 50 million payment cards stolen. And while Target’s breach last year hurt it immediately (the breach was revealed on Dec. 16, at the height of holiday shopping), business numbers are back to normal ten months later.
And although customers may sincerely mean it when they say they won’t trust breached retailers with their cards again, the survey didn’t ask whether they could actually name the retailers that fall into the breached-in-the-past-year category. That list now includes Home Depot, Staples, Kmart, Michaels, Neiman Marcus and Albertsons, with Dairy Queen, Jimmy John’s and P.F. Chang’s in the “breached eateries” category — and by the start of holiday shopping on Black Friday, that list is likely to be longer. Whether customers will even remember in December which merchants they’re afraid of today remains to be seen.