Minnesota Poll: Shoppers are sticking with Target after data breach

  • Article by: JENNIFER BJORHUS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 20, 2014 - 5:03 AM

Poll finds 82 percent see no cause to change their shopping habits.

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Target’s outreach to customers after the data breach included an apology, a store discount for a limited time and free credit monitoring. About half of poll respondents were “somewhat satisfied” with that.

Photo: File photo by KYNDELL HARKNESS • kyndell.harkness@startribune.com,

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Most Minnesotans haven’t changed their shopping habits at Target since its massive data breach in December, according to a new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll.

The poll found that 82 percent of respondents are visiting the Minneapolis-based retailer as often as they did before data thieves successfully infiltrated Target’s information systems and obtained shoppers’ personal information and millions of card numbers.

Eleven percent of Minnesotans said they are upset enough about the theft of consumer data that they will shop less often at Target; another 5 percent say they won’t be going back at all.

Brian Yarbrough, a consumer analyst at Edward Jones & Co, said the loss of some shoppers shouldn’t be that surprising for Target. But the fact that a large majority of those polled said they won’t change their shopping habits is a “pretty good” number for the retailer, he said.

“I have always said 5 to 10 percent will never shop there again,” Yarbrough said.

Since the data breach was revealed, Target has seen a drag on sales. Comparable-store sales were up nearly 1 percent until the data theft was revealed, Yarbrough said, then sales sharply reversed.

Target has been quiet about the impact on its business over the past several weeks, except for a Jan. 10 financial update that showed sales were beginning to improve.

“By late spring, end of summer, you’ll be back to more normal business trends,” Yarbrough said.

The Star Tribune interviewed 800 Minnesota adults by phone Feb. 10 to Feb. 12. The poll has a margin of sampling error of 3.5 percentage points, plus or minus.

Outreach and delay divide, too

Asked how satisfied they are with Target’s outreach to customers, which included a company apology, a brief store discount and free credit monitoring, about half the poll respondents said they were “somewhat satisfied,” 25 percent said they were very satisfied and 15 percent said they were not satisfied.

A total of 46 percent of those polled accepted the company’s position that it waited four days to announce the cyberattack because it wanted to make sure its data system was secure again and it was equipped to handle customer questions.

Meanwhile, 42 percent said the retailer was too slow, and 12 percent were unsure.

Cynthia Olson, 64, of Duluth said she shopped at Target during the breach but paid cash and hasn’t experienced any problems. The breach won’t have any effect on her Target shopping.

Still, she thinks Target should have more quickly spread the news.

“I just thought that immediately without question they should have disclosed it so people could take the proper measures to protect themselves,” Olson said.

Sue Uppole, 61, of Blaine said she used to go to Target once or twice a month, mainly for the low prices on groceries and dog food. She will shop there less now, she said, though she hasn’t seen any fraud on her Target Redcard debit card or the other debit card she uses.

“It’s not that I’m mad,” Uppole said. “It’s more trust than anything.”

  • How the poll

    was conducted

    Today’s Star Tribune Minnesota Poll findings are based on interviews conducted Feb. 10-12 with 800 Minnesota adults via land line (75 percent) and cellphone (25 percent). The poll was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research Inc.

    Results of a poll based on 800 interviews will vary by no more than 3.5 percentage points, plus or minus, from the overall population 95 times out of 100. Margins are larger for groups within the sample, such as age groups.

    Sampling error does not take into account other sources of variation inherent in public opinion surveys, such as nonresponse, question wording or context effects. In addition, news events may have affected opinions during the period the poll was taken.

    Readers can e-mail questions to djmcgrath@startribune.com.

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