2020 Saw Record Number of eCommerce Transactions, New Data from ACI Worldwide Reveals

  • E-Commerce
  • 16.12.2020 02:36 pm

New data from ACI Worldwide (NASDAQ: ACIW), a leading provider of real-time digital payment software and solutions, has revealed a 21 percent increase in global eCommerce transactions in November 2020 compared to November 2019. Globally, eCommerce transactions are up by a fifth (20%) and in the UK they have risen by 12 percent. *

2020 has been a benchmark year for online transactions, as the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing measures forced consumers to shop online and retailers to adapt to survive. The overall industry winners in 2020 were the gaming sector, up 15 percent in the UK, and DIY and online retailing sectors, up 69 percent.

The data is based on the analysis of hundreds of millions of eCommerce transactions from global merchants, with the retail sector witnessing a significant increase (30%) over the five-day period from Thanksgiving, and Black Friday through to Cyber Monday in 2020 compared to 2019.

As we head into 2021, ACI predicts that the uplift in eCommerce sales will continue well into the new year as social distancing measures, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, remain in force and consumers are adapting to the new retail world.

Commenting on the data, ACI’s Andrew Quartermaine, vice president, merchant retail, identifies a number of trends to watch out for in 2021:

1. Redesigning retail for a digital and physical world

“For many years retail experts have spoken about the physical and digital worlds colliding. But in 2020 this trend really picked up pace. As we head into 2021, retailers will need to further merge the physical and digital world to survive.

“This may mean a redesign of store formats, slimming down the number of premises they operate, and focusing on a smaller format design with the full product range available only online. Cutting queue times by offering instant check-out options in store will also work in favour of retailers. And nailing the logistics around home delivery will remain high up on their agenda. Retailers also need to build out their click-and-collect or curb-side pick-up options as a priority. Dependent on the wider roll-out of a vaccine, we estimate that click-and-collect volumes will rise by 34 percent next year.

2. Rise in digital payments

“2020 also saw a massive increase in the adoption of digital payments among UK consumers. A YouGov survey conducted by ACI in July revealed that 63 percent of UK adults said they made more card payments since the beginning of the lockdown, 80 percent said they had made more contactless payments, and 24 percent more mobile wallet payments. Safety also became a priority for consumers our survey revealed. 57 percent of respondents said making digital payments ‘feels safer,’ 53 percent reported that the shops they are visiting regularly had stopped using cash, and 38 percent cited convenience and ease of use when asked why they had used more digital payments.

3. Rise of new ways of paying

“The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the behavioral change among consumers that normally would take years. As shopping habits have changed, so have the attitudes toward alternative payments. Our research indicates that this shift is not temporary but rather the new norm, and retailers need to take note.

“New payment methods and models need to be taken more seriously. Retailers who can offer greater flexibility when it comes to payments will reap the rewards. In 2020 we have seen a huge adoption of ‘buy-now-pay-later’ schemes, as consumers look to spread costs over months, rather than paying for goods in one lump sum.

“With more consumers experiencing economic uncertainty, pay-after-delivery services boost consumer confidence by allowing them to get products, try them and pay later. Offering longer payment terms and options to delay or split payments will help consumers balance their spending — and drive loyalty.”

4. IOT and voice shopping

“The use of voice and Internet of Things (IoT) devices is set to become a potentially significant differentiator for merchants. Among Trailblazer merchants, 50 percent plan to invest to support sales through digital assistants such as Alexa, and other forms of connected devices, to augment and improve the online shopping experience. **

“COVID has raised lots of questions about the future of retail which we are still seeking answers for. What it has taught us so far is that retailers need to be prepared to embrace new concepts, challenge established ways of doing things and be ready for the unexpected.”


*January – end of November 2020 compared to the same period in 2020
**ACI Worldwide/Ovum Benchmark Survey, October 2019

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