2015 was a big year for online transactions. Back in August, Britons spent £11.5 billion online, with the number of card transactions made on the internet increasing by 20 per cent in the past year. There were 130 million card payments online in August – almost 50 a second – up from 108 million in the same period last year.
Christmas shopping at home
Over Christmas, online spending was the clear winner as it recorded its highest growth in three years and predominantly drove the overall growth, accounting for a quarter of total spend (24.6 per cent).
China, the home of Singles Day, saw the biggest e-commerce even in the world bring in absolutely staggering amounts online. Alibaba customers spent $14.3 billion, marking a 60 per cent increase from the previous year.
Online shopping has become more popular because, as with any payment method, it has become more convenient than the alternatives. All the little kinks such as rigid delivery times and high delivery fees have been ironed out and more importantly, the payment process has been sped up as much as possible to a point where payment companies are scrambling to offer one-click payments. Visa, MasterCard and PayPal have all introduced their own versions of it.
More importantly, these companies are also tracking the payment data. MasterCard recently tracked data in Canada that showed Canadians shopped online in record numbers during this year’s holiday shopping season. For the first time in Canadian eCommerce history, the combined online share of sales in November and December 2015 totalled 9.8 per cent, according to MasterCard SpendingPulse, which looks at Canadian retail sales across cards, cash and cheques to offer detailed insight into consumer spending trends.
The payments giant said November and December 2015 were both record-breaking months. In November, online sales accounted for 9.7 per cent, the highest in Canadian eCommerce history. This record was broken in December when online sales climbed to 9.9 per cent of total retail sales, up from 8.6 per cent in 2014.
The online shopping category showed a 20% increase during that same period compared to 2014, representing the highest year-over-year growth in SpendingPulse’s ten-year history measuring Canadian retail sales.
“Canadians are embracing online shopping and we aren’t surprised to see the growth in this category continue to trend upward as it has over the last three years,” said Sarah Quinlan, Senior Vice President, Market Insights for MasterCard Advisors.
“When you compare the relatively slow growth of retail overall with the quick growth of online shopping, it shows the strength and growing preference of the online channel for today’s shopper. With every device quickly becoming a commerce device, we’ll be watching to see if the growth of online continues beyond the gift-giving season,” she added.
The rise of the omnishopper
MasterCard also described the modern consumer as an ‘omnishopper’ – someone who uses all the payment and shopping methods available, including computer, smartphone, tablet or in-store technology. According to the company, eight out of ten consumers are omnishoppers, and that a staggering 52 per cent North American shoppers choosing to shop online because of the ease of checkout.
The Merchant Risk Council is a global trade association that brings together industry professionals in fraud, risk and payments. The conference saw speakers from the likes of from PayU, JPMorgan Chase, Google and Santander who all took part in educational sessions and spoke about where the industry is heading.
Eastern Europe is still very much a region finding its identity following the breakdown of the Soviet Union over 20 years ago. Countries in the region are at various stages of economic growth and payments infrastructure development, and the e-commerce landscape looks different as you cross borders.
The failure to keep pace with expanding compliance procedures has seen a rise in the number of financial penalties issued by regulators over the past few years. As anti-money laundering (AML), know-your-customer (KYC), counter-terrorism financing and other compliance obligations expand across different territories, organisations large and small have struggled to maintain adequate and comprehensive safeguards – often resulting in sizable fines and significant reputational damage.
Andrew Quartermain, VP Sales at ACI Worldwide, explains that the growth of e-commerce and the rapid rise in the popularity of smartphones has played a big part in driving retail change, with today’s consumer now able to browse, compare, buy, receive and review products at their convenience, wherever they are. Highly connected consumers are demanding a more personalized and seamless shopping experience, wherever and however they choose to shop - and retailers have had to undertake a shift from paper to digital technologies to keep up with this demand.