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Global e-commerce sales jump 24% in December

Retailers with pre-COVID buy-online, pick-up-in-store options saw biggest jump with 70% increase in sales

More people did their holiday shopping online, driving up global e-commerce transactions 24% in December compared to 2019, according to new data. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

More global consumers shopped online this holiday season than ever before. According to data collected by payments firm ACI Worldwide (NASDAQ: ACIQ), e-commerce transactions jumped 24% in December 2020 compared to 2019.

Merchants that offered customers the option to buy online and pick up in store (BOPIS) prior to the pandemic particularly benefited, with a 70% increase in volume and 58% increase in value compared to 2019.

“In 2020, we saw the pandemic drive the highest number of merchants implementing the BOPIS delivery channel for the first time in one year,” said Debbie Guerra, executive vice president of ACI Worldwide. “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.”

BOPIS did see an increase in fraud, with a 7% increase in fraud attempts compared to just 4.6% for other delivery channels.

Transactions in the gaming sector increased 90%, likely due to more people seeking at-home activities and supported by new gaming console releases from both Sony and Nintendo. Retailers saw a 31% increase in transactions in December.

Overall, global Q4 e-commerce transactions increased 19% compared to Q4 2019. U.S. transactions were up 14%, ACI said, with the U.K. posting a 28% increase. Globally, the retail sector was up 48%.

Non-fraud chargebacks increased 26% in December, ACI said, driven by shipping delays.

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

Not surprisingly, the travel and ticketing sectors saw huge declines, dropping 27% and 76%, respectively.

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight leads FreightWaves' Modern Shipper brand as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler. You can reach him at [email protected]