Report: Online Shopping, Curbside Pickup Boomed in 2020

Merchants that offered the “buy online, pick up in store” delivery channel pre-pandemic experienced 70% increase in volume in 2020 compared to 2019, according to new data from ACI Worldwide.

The data revealed a 24% increase in ecommerce transactions globally in December 2020 compared to December 2019. In particular, online transactions in the retail sector increased 31% and the gaming sector increased 90%, comparing December 2020 with December 2019.

While many merchants initially implemented the buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) delivery channel during the pandemic, those that already had this option available pre-COVID-19 experienced an increase of 70% by volume and 58% by value in 2020. However, BOPIS fraud has also seen a significant increase, with a 7% fraud attempt rate compared to 4.6% with other delivery channels.

“In 2020, we saw the pandemic drive the highest number of merchants implementing the BOPIS delivery channel for the first time in one year,” Debbie Guerra, EVP of ACI Worldwide, said in a statement. “We expect this channel to increase as more consumers get used to the convenience of shopping at home and the speed of in-store pickup. However, this is also a channel to watch closely for fraud, as these same benefits appeal to fraudsters.”

ACI’s data also showed that non-fraud chargebacks increased 26% in December 2020 compared to December 2019, driven by shipment delays over the holiday period. Non-fraud chargebacks include product received was not what the customer ordered, not delivered on time, damaged upon delivery, poor customer service, etc.

“Non-fraud chargebacks continue to rise since the low that was experienced in April 2020,” Guerra said.

She added that “porch pirates” were active in 2020, which impacted the increase in non-fraud chargebacks as fraudsters follow delivery trucks. In addition, shipment delays consumers experienced over the holiday period as well as a backlog of returns processing and product back orders have also contributed to the increase in non-fraud chargebacks.

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Online purchasing trends December 2020: Travel and ticketing continued to see a significant dip in December due to the pandemic, declining 27% and 76%, respectively. Transactions in the gaming sector increased 90%.

In Q4 2020, global eCommerce transactions increased 22% compared to Q4 2019. Through January to December 2020, global e-commerce transactions increased by 19% compared to 2019. The U.K. saw an increase in transactions of 28% and the U.S. of 14% from January through December 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.

The gaming sector increased 84% January to December 2020 compared with 2019. The retail sector increased 48% January to December 2020 compared with 2019.

Fraudulent attempt purchase value decreased by $10 in 2020 compared with 2019; this was the impact of airline, sporting event and concert ticket purchase declines, which have a high average ticket price. Average value of genuine purchases decreased by $18​.

Fraud attempt rates by value increased slightly by 0.2% to 3.4%, similar to prior holiday seasons, as a result of increased genuine consumer spending outpacing fraud.


Adobe: Cyber Monday Spending Up 15% at Record $10.8 Billion

E-commerce sales on Cyber Monday (Nov. 30) set a new revenue record, topping $10.8 billion, which was up 15.1% from $9.39 billion during the previous-year period, according to new data from Adobe Analytics. The tally was below Adobe’s projected $12.7 billion estimate, which cites statistics from 80 of the top 100 online retailers.

Observers contend online spending on one-day sales events has been expanded by big-box stores throughout the year in response to Amazon Prime Days — tempering somewhat the impact of CyberMonday.

“Throughout the remainder of the holiday season, we expect to see record sales continue and curbside pickup to gain even more momentum as shoppers avoid crowds and potential shipping delays,” Taylor Schreiner, with Adobe Digital Insights, said in a video statement.

Regardless, consumers are increasingly using smartphones to conduct online purchases, with 40% of transactions on Black Friday and Thanksgiving conducted on portable devices. Adobe found that in-store and curbside pickup of online purchases increased 52% from last year.

ADI’s John Copeland said portable devices were used 60% of the time by people visiting and browsing retail websites buying assorted items such as toys and video games.

“It’s clear consumers have gotten a lot more comfortable shopping from their phones,” Copeland told CNBC, adding that top-selling items on Cyber Monday included limited availability of new game systems from Sony PlayStation and  Microsoft’s Xbox, as well as titles Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and Spider-Man: Miles Morales.

“If you can get them, you should grab them,” Copeland said.

He said social media is increasingly driving consumer traffic to retail websites, underscoring the power of so-called “influencers” and click advertising.

“Thanksgiving weekend through Cyber Monday, social media has driven 1-in-10 visits to retail websites,” Copeland said. “That’s 17% greater than last year. Retailers are figuring out how to leverage all the digital channels.”

Analyst: 11% of Americans Subscribed to ‘Walmart Plus’ 14 Days After Launch

About 11% of Americans signed up for “Walmart Plus,” the $98 annual subscription program aimed at competing with the Amazon Prime membership, just 14 days after launch. Citing data from a survey of 20,179 respondents, research firm Piplsay found that 35% of respondents had a favorable impression of the platform, with another 38% saying they believe Walmart+ will be competitive with Amazon Prime.

The findings are significant since they suggest broad consumer appeal and the possibility Walmart would expand the platform’s appeal with streaming access to movies, TV shows and music — now available on Prime Video and Prime Music.

Walmart+ bowed offering subscribers the ability to “scan-and-go” purchasing in stores and discounts on gas. Other features cited favorably by survey respondents included free shipping (35%) on orders over $35, same-day/24-hour deliveries (24%) and pricing (5%). The platform is $21 cheaper than Amazon Prime on an annual basis.

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Notably, 45% of respondents said they subscribe to both Walmart+ and Amazon Prime; 36% said it was their first retailer subscription service and 19% said they were dropping Amazon Prime for Walmart+. Another 60% of men think Walmart+ will be a big threat to Amazon Prime as compared to just 40% of women. Among those interested, about 36% of millennials and Gen Xers have taken both Walmart Plus and Amazon Prime subscriptions. About 56% of Gen Zers are excited about the mobile scan-and-go feature as compared with 44% of Gen Xers.

“Walmart Plus is taking on Amazon Prime in what is the biggest online retail battle to hit the U.S. in recent times,” read the report.

Walmart Launches Text-Message Shopping/Delivery Service

Walmart has launched a subscription service in select markets that enables members to order items via text message and have them delivered the same day to their home.

Dubbed “Jetblack,” the platform bowed May 31 in New York City boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn targeting time-strapped affluent shoppers willing to pay $50 monthly for the service.

Subscribers can order anything (including movie DVDs) except alcohol from and will receive reminders when frequently-purchased items in the home might need to be replenished.

“Through its curated shopping recommendations … Jetblack can deliver time-strapped urban parents everything from birthday gifts to household essentials,” Walmart said in a statement.

Walmart acquired in 2016 for $3 billion in cash and stock, looking to jumpstart its ecommerce strategy and better compete with Amazon.

Internal research found that Jetblack test members purchased 10-times more than the average shopper, according to Walmart.

“The goal is to think about game-changing technologies that will change the way people shop,” Jenny Fleiss, co-founder of Jetblack, told Reuters.

Amazon offers its Prime subscribers same-day deliveries (via Prime Now) of assorted household products as part of its $99 annual membership fee.