Covid-19: Huge growth in eCommerce sales during March

Online retail sales have risen dramatically in March, with a 74% growth in average transaction volumes compared with the same period last year, according to data from ACI Worldwide. The analysis, of hundreds of millions of transactions from global online retailers, demonstrates the extent to which people’s shopping habits have changed as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.

The rise in eCommerce sales has been particularly profound in products related to staying indoors. Compared to March 2019, transaction volumes increased by 97% for home products and furnishings, 136% for DIY products, 163% for garden essentials, 26.6% for electronics, 29.7% for jewellery, and 18.6% for Telco. Additionally, there was a 97% increase in online gaming. Categories which saw a decline in transaction volume in this period included ticketing by 60%, travel by 44%, and online dating by 8.9%.

“During these unprecedented and uncertain times with millions now at home, many consumers are going online to purchase products or services,” commented Amanda Mickleburgh, product director, merchant fraud, ACI Worldwide. “Quarantine has changed lives for all of us, with consumers buying electronics and furniture – to support work, communication, school and entertainment – as well as items such as home goods and DIY products.”

Worryingly, the analysis also showed that this boost in eCommerce activity has led to a rise in fraudsters attempting to obtain and use financial data through techniques such as Covid-19-related phishing scams. Overall, average fraudulent attempted purchase value grew by $36 in March, with fraudulent attempted transactional value increasing by 13%.

Guerra added: “Long term, we and others in the industry predict that the shift in consumer behaviour – opting for online purchases – is likely to outlast the crisis. The industry is well ahead of the curve in adapting payment methods and ways to combat fraud in response to the changing behaviours and expectations of consumers, which are now being expedited by the lockdown.”