Amazon, DIY and Fitness Rule in Pandemic-Related Spending

Recently released research that polled shoppers in May revealed the importance (and dependence) of Amazon

Recently released research that polled shoppers in May revealed the importance (and dependence) of Amazon to consumers during the pandemic, relying on the online giant not only for essentials such as groceries but also for apparel, beauty products and exercise equipment.

The report, released this week by e-commerce platform provider Jungle Scout found that 71 percent of consumers polled “say they have shopped on Amazon during the COVID-19 pandemic,” while 48 percent of respondents “say they are shopping more frequently on Amazon since the COVID-19 pandemic than they did previously.”

The survey follows two other research reports this week that showed shoppers slightly pulling back on spending, including online, but continuing to buy products such as exercise equipment and outdoor gear in large quantities. In regard to the dependence of Amazon by consumers, the Jungle Scout report found that 65 percent of respondents make purchases on Amazon “at least once a month, and more than half (52 percent) say that if they were only able to buy products from a single store, it would be Amazon.”

Apparently, that admiration swelled during the coronavirus outbreak. Jungle Scout said 52 percent of consumers polled “say they have [a] greater appreciation for Amazon now than they did prior to COVID-19,” while 38 percent said the ability to shop on Amazon “is a necessity for them due to a disability, distance from their home to physical stores, or other limitations.”

Looking at monthly online sales, ACI Worldwide said July sales were strong. The company culled data from “hundreds of millions” of e-commerce transactions during the months and found a 19 percent year-over-year gain. The star category was sales of outdoor equipment.

“At a time when shoppers are typically filling their carts with back-to-school supplies and fall clothing styles, they instead are in a frenzy for outdoor goods (up 17 percent in July, highest of the summer) as retailers cannot keep items on shelves,” ACI Worldwide said in the report. “With restaurants and more closing again, coupled with COVID-19 surges, consumers are buying anything they can to keep occupied outside.”

Other notable findings include the strength of gaming products and home office items. ACI Worldwide said “It does not matter the weather or season, gaming is sweeping the country and the world as consumers continue to stay wired in. Consumers are decking out home offices as they prepare for the long haul.”

Looking at weekly online sales trends, has year-over-year revenue showing a 38 percent gain for fashion and accessories in the U.S. — a sharp increase compared to prior weeks. The number of orders is up over 28 percent. Average order volume is not as robust, showing a 7 percent year-over-year gain.

With the momentum of online sales and the number of transactions showing sharp gains, online fraud remains a problem for consumers, brands and retailers. ACI Worldwide said fraudulent activity continues to increase “as criminals take advantage of card-not-present methods of payment, including buy-online-pick-up-in-store or click-and-collect methods.”

The company said in its report that while fraudulent transactions by volume “were slightly lower in 2020 (2.3 percent) compared to 2019 (2.6 percent), the data showed that fraud transactions by value were higher in 2020 (4.4 percent) compared to 2019 (3.7 percent).”

Debbie Guerra, executive vice president of ACI Worldwide, said fraudsters “are targeting higher-value items like electronics and luxury brand names, especially within newer channels such as curbside pick-up and in-parking lot pick-up.”

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