Coronavirus and Its Impact on Online Electronics Sales

Coronavirus and Its Impact on Online Electronics Sales

As more and more data is made available on the impact of COVID-19 on eCommerce, it’s becoming clearer how the different industries are faring. The staples, like groceries, alongside food deliveries, are drawing in existing and new shoppers every day. On the other end, travel and event tickets have taken a hard hit.

Business in other industries has fluctuated, doing well in some geographies, or on some days, and seeing slumps on others. So this week, we drill down and take a look at data from our network of electronics merchants, with a global presence across Europe, North America, Asia, Africa and LATAM. We broke our figures down to 2 different categories within the electronics vertical: Appliances and Consumer Electronics.

Appliances

  • The number of orders dipped in February, but picked up and actually rose significantly in March. In fact, they’re up 12% from January by count, and 20% in terms of value.
  • Average order values increased ever so slightly over the course from January through March.
  • The number of clearly fraudulent orders decreased significantly as the pandemic developed.

Consumer Electronics

  • The number of orders dropped slightly in February over January figures, but picked up and actually rose significantly in March. Consumer electronics sales were up 23% from January figures by count, and up 9% by value.
  • Average order values decreased significantly in February, and started picking up in March. The average order value from returning customers in consumer electronics has been rising steadily since February.
  • The number of clearly fraudulent orders rose as the pandemic developed. This can be attributed mainly to new shoppers. In fact, the fraud attempt rate for new customers were 40% higher by both count and value. This means the attempts are for lower value products. This might indicate testing, carding, or fraudster creating new accounts for later usage.

Consumer Behaviour

While we’ve seen little change in terms of order sources, new delivery patterns are emerging. For one, we’re seeing a 30% increase in expedited shipping. This means merchants who during regular times consider premium shipping a risk indicator – certainly if they’re new customers – need to shift their mindset in order to avoid falsely declining customers for the wrong reasons.

Our figures show that premium shipping is becoming more standard during the pandemic. In fact, in March, orders with premium shipping were safer than those with standard delivery. This will not necessarily be the case once the pandemic eases and subsides, but for the time being it’s a clear COVID-19-related trend. 


Customers are also opting for drop points in greater numbers. On March 20 we saw the highest rate of these orders, which makes sense, as the option of BOPIS/Click-and-collect is becoming less relevant due to social distancing. Drop point orders are a lot riskier than other delivery options, but from month to month we’re seeing them becoming a lot more legitimate, and therefore a lot safer.

The bottom line for electronics and other merchants is clear. What was standard during “normal” times, is not necessarily applicable during times of turmoil, distress, and interruption. The implications on fraud managements are clear – and carrying on as though nothing has changed, will ultimately lead to mistakes, and mounting false declines.