Lockdown drives online sales up 74% in March

Online retail saw transaction volumes soar by 74 per cent in March compared to the same month last year.

ACI Worldwide analysis of hundreds of millions of transactions carried out by global online retailers found that as millions of Britons headed online for purchases and entertainment, transaction volumes in online gaming saw a bounce of 97 per cent compared to the same time last year.

Likewise, hobbies such as DIY and the rise in home working drove up transaction volumes for online retailers selling home products and furnishings (up 97 per cent), DIY projects (136 per cent), garden essentials (163 per cent), electronics (27 per cent) and jewellery (30 per cent).

However, while spending habits shifted largely online, cyber criminals have also upped their activity in a bid to exploit the COVID-19 crisis, with fraudulent transactional value up 13 per cent in March.

Merchants are also starting to experience dramatic increases in COVID-19-related phishing activities, with stolen credentials released into the e-commerce payments chain, as well as increased friendly fraud activities.

Amanda Mickleburgh, product director of merchant fraud at ACI Worldwide, said: “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."

She added: “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.”

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