New research by ACI Worldwide, based on global online retailers’ transactions and the effects of the COVID-19 economy during April, found a 209 percent growth in the general retail sector compared to the same period last year. As illustrated by the 23.5 percent increase in average transaction volume, this sustained increase in e-commerce transaction volume is reflective of a full month of wide restrictions on the in-store activity as well as other quarantine measures.
Home office equipment, gaming and digital entertainment are among the sectors that are continuing to see growth. Notably, the gaming segment saw the biggest bump after general retail, up 126 percent in April.
“Consumer behavior is very much in flux, with some sectors thriving while others are focused on surviving the economic impacts of the pandemic,” said Debbie Guerra, executive vice president, ACI Worldwide. “Trends in e-commerce purchasing behaviors that we began to see in March have continued in April, as hundreds of millions of consumers around the world adapt to the restrictions put in place to inhibit the spread of the coronavirus.”
While consumers are increasingly making use of click-and-collect options, out of a desire for convenience and safety, ACI Worldwide’s findings show that these changing patterns have attracted fraud.
While fraud attempts have decreased from March, they are still above findings from the same time last year. According to the company, fraud attempt rates reached 4.3 percent, and the average fraudulent attempted purchase value increased by $26 in April. This has been driven by electronic purchases and increases in click-and-collect. Consumer electronics, and other segments that have experienced high sales growth, have been the focus of attempted fraud.
“We’ve seen retailers across sectors and geographies innovate and quickly adapt — including making changes to payment method acceptance — but fraud prevention must now be a focus,” Guerra said. “Transaction volumes are rising while average ticket size is decreasing, putting pressure on margins and creating challenges for supply chains and logistics, while fraudsters target those big-ticket items that are seeing spikes in sales.”
Additionally, chargebacks for non-fraudulent reasons saw a 25 percent increase through the end of March creating the challenge of processing returns and staffing call centers or delivering services for retailers. While ACI Worldwide noted that retailers can expect an increase in “friendly fraud” chargebacks due to increased financial difficulties during this time, retailers can monitor systems and update engage frequently with web mobile site security management to stay ahead of this trend.
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