Nearly two years of unpredictable consumer behavior, mass digital migration, and wobbly growth left businesses ready for a 2021 Black Friday weekend that would top the charts in both traffic flow and transaction values. But despite merchants’ expectations for a standout seasonal sales kickoff, global reports revealed a 1.4% drop across e-commerce on Cyber Monday—a difference worth millions of dollars, and the first Black Friday-Cyber Monday (BFCM) downturn recorded in history.
In fact, research found that consumers spent $4.5 billion online on Saturday, November 27th, down 4.3% from 2020, and $4.7 billion online the following day, down 0.5% from the same period last year. And while these dips in BFCM sales were a surprise, this holiday shopping season is still ramping up to dominate previous years’ Q4 profits by a landslide: Adobe points out that, given the high levels of holiday spending that have already happened, sales for the entire holiday shopping season (November 1-December 31) are expected to reach $207 billion, up 10% from the previous year.
Fraudsters zero in on fintech, food delivery, and retail
Seasonal surges in consumer spending are a beacon to fraudsters, who showed up in droves during BFCM weekend, driving payment fraud, account takeover, and the likelihood of future chargebacks to new altitudes across multiple industries. According to Sift’s global network, attempted account takeover fraud (ATO) more than tripled in digital wallets this year, with significant increases in payment services (PSPs) and buy now, pay later (BNPL)—notable, given that fintech order volumes rose by 126% over the BFCM weekend. Food delivery was also hit with rising ATO attempts, a problem exacerbated by the demand for zero friction and near-real-time verification.
However, no industry got bombarded by attempted ATO like omnichannel retail: account takeover fraud rates rose by a gut-wrenching 2950% during BFCM, on top of a 62% increase in attempted payment fraud. Sift’s Trust and Safety Architects reason that these ballooning attacks will only continue throughout the remainder of the season, and are precursors to an avalanche of post-holiday chargebacks likely to arrive just after the new year.
Explore this and other industry-specific BFCM fraud data from Sift with our interactive infographic, below.
See more fraud insights from the Sift global network in our latest report—Digital Trust & Safety Index: Battling the new breed of account takeover fraud.