Young adults (ages 18-24) are the most likely to not receive gifts they've ordered online – and that could be due to their own carelessness, suggests the results of an online survey paid for by a group called the Digital Citizens Alliance of Washington, D.C.


Released in advance of so-called “Cyber Monday,” the Monday following Thanksgiving that has seen a spike in online shopping, the poll indicates that more than one in three (35 percent) of young adults said they had ordered gifts online and not received them.


Almost 60 percent of the young adults who didn't get a gift didn't get a refund either.


The poll offers two reasons why young adults might be having such trouble.


While more than 80 percent of the total population said they verify that they are shopping on a secure website, only 60 percent of young adults did – by far the lowest of the five age groups (18-24 years-old, 25-34, 35-54, 55-69 and those more than 70 years old).


Young adults are most likely of the age groups in the survey to look for the lowest price when they buy online, which scammers commonly prey upon by offering products at a significant discount.


In addition, they are the least likely to consider if the website is well-known and established.


"It is easy to understand why young adults, who are just starting their careers and have the least disposable income, would bargain shop. It is unfortunate that young people who are looking for value and options end up being ripped off and frustrated," says Digital Citizens Alliance Executive Director Tom Galvin.


Sally Greenberg, executive director of the National Consumers League, says that consumers shopping on Cyber Monday will be inundated with discount, coupons and sales marketing.


“While online shopping continues to be a convenient and accessible arena for consumers, there are plenty of scammers who will practice false advertising. Young people, in particular, shouldn't let their guard down when it comes to safe online shopping during the holidays," she says.


Other findings from the poll include:

• Of all groups, only those 70 and older had a larger percentage of people who did not think the Internet is a safe place to shop than young adults. (66 percent of 18-24 year-olds think it is safe, versus 73 percent of 25-34 year-olds, 78 percent of 35-54 year-olds, 75 percent of 55-69 year-olds, and 63 percent of those 70 and older).

• Two-thirds of the young adults (or 65.6 percent) never got an explanation as to why they didn't receive a refund.

• 90 percent of the young adults said they shop at purely online retailers, while 59 percent said they shop at brick and mortar stores that also have websites.



Methodology notes

Digital Citizens Alliance commissioned Zogby Analytics to conduct the online survey of 1,000 adults in the United States. Results were gathered on November 14, 2013. Based on a confidence interval of 95 percent, the margin of error for 1,000 is +/- 3.2 percentage points.