Indicators of Consumer Protection and Empowerment in the Digital World: Results and Recommendations of a Feasibility Study

Christian Thorun, Max Vetter, Lucia A. Reisch, Anne K. Zimmer

Research output: Book/ReportReportResearch


The process of digitalisation has changed the lives of consumers around the world. Digitalisation makes it easier for consumers to access and process information, potentially increases choice and competition, as well as encouraging innovation. At the same time, however, consumers also face barriers and risks. More than half of the world’s population still does not have access to the Internet, and many consumers fear that their personal information might be misused or that they might become victims of online fraud.
These barriers and fears constitute a significant impediment for the further development of the digital economy: When consumers mistrust businesses, they are discouraged from using new digital products and services. Hence, growth on the supply-side of the digital market presupposes consumer trust on the demand-side of the market.
As a result, governments around the world have put the task of consumer protection and empowerment in the digital world on their agendas. In their Digital Economy Development and Cooperation Initiative, the G20 set the target to bridge the digital divide by expanding broadband access and improving quality, developing skills and competences as well as strengthening confidence and trust. The G20 Initiative also encourages efforts to develop better metrics, inter alia, for important policy issues like trust in the digital economy.
The objective of the present study is to contribute to such a development of better metrics. It aims at testing the feasibility and making concrete proposals for a set of indicators to describe and measure progress towards an environment that is beneficial for consumer trust in the digital world. The study is based on a
literature review, expert interviews, a consultation of Consumers International and its members as well as a consumer survey that was conducted in six G20 countries.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherDer Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband
Number of pages113
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2017

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