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Survey: Digital purchases, fraud on the rise for the holidays

online christmas shopping
Holiday shoppers will make more online transactions this year.

Retailers can look forward to growth in both online sales and fraud attempts this holiday season.

According to analysis of millions of e-commerce transactions conducted by digital payments software provider ACI Commerce, transaction volume is expected to rise expected to rise 15% during the October to December 2022 holiday shopping season.

ACI says that these spending predictions reflect that consumer optimism is holding strong, despite inflationary pressures and limited inventory. The 2022 forecast is slightly ahead of ACI’s 2021 holiday e-commerce forecast of 14% growth in transactions.

As retailers instill holiday shipment cutoff dates for last-minute shoppers, ACI expects the volume of transactions to increase 24% for shipment cutoff: priority, 15% for shipment cutoff: ground and 10% for shipment cutoff: express. However, buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) transactions are forecast to go up 9% during the 2022 holiday season compared to 2021, partially as a result of inflation in shipping costs.

[Read more: NRF predicts ‘healthy’ holiday sales as growth slows amid inflation]

Fraudsters targeting high-value items

According to ACI data, the volume of “friendly” (chargeback-related) fraud increased 22% and the average transaction value grew 39% from January through September 2022, when compared to the same period in 2021. The data also shows that account takeover fraud doubled in the same timeframe compared to 2021.

“We’re seeing a significant increase in the average ticket value of friendly fraud, indicating that fraudsters are targeting high-value items like electronics and travel,” said Erika Dietrich, head of fraud management and payments analytics, ACI Worldwide. “We expect this trend to continue into the 2022 holiday season and encourage merchants and shoppers to be vigilant. Orchestration between merchants’ fraud prevention and payment strategies will be crucial to protect all entry points and adapt to changing fraud behaviors and payment channels at the same time.”

[Read more: Study: Automated fraud poses substantial risk to online retailers]

Mobile payments slightly increase and digital wallet usage grows

ACI projects mobile payments to increase 5% during the 2022 holiday season, compared to the same period in 2021; while the average ticket value (ATV) is expected to grow by 45% ($123). Digital wallets trasactions are expected to increase 11% year-over-year

The ATV for buy now, pay later (BNPL) transactions is anticipated to grow 10%, according to ACI analysis. As inventory shortages persist, ACI forecasts that ATV of gift card purchases will double.

“Consumers are savvier on payment methods like BNPL as they look to delay spending by breaking up their purchases into smaller installments,” said Basant Singh, head of merchant, ACI Worldwide. “In addition, consumers are showing a strong preference for digital wallets as a payment method as they shop more online and less in stores this holiday season. Retailers may want to consider improving the BNPL checkout experience for people with higher credit-approval rates. In addition, ensuring a smooth experience with digital wallet acceptance and strong fraud prevention in place will be beneficial.”


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