Forter Report: Coronavirus Impact on Ecommerce & Fraud

No primary category set

The world has changed dramatically in recent weeks as the Coronavirus impact starts to impact every day life in almost every country across the world. Governments have responded at different rates to the threat, with lockdowns, financial support to various degrees to businesses and consumers, and orders regarding essential vs non-essential goods.

This has impacted both merchant and consumer behaviour. Merchants of non-essential goods have closed stores, and in some countries their online operations as well. Some merchants have seen spikes in activity, and struggle in some cases to meet the demand. Consumers increasingly shop online, although the extent of this shift, especially for discretionary spend, remains to be seen.

Fraudsters double down on their activities, and as we’ve seen in prior recessions, consumer “friendly fraud” will increase as well. Merchants who manually review transactions may struggle to keep up.

The longer this continues, the more we expect to see consumers continue to shift to online shopping. As a result of the Coronavirus impact, Forter are seeing merchants accelerating their digital transformation plans and are providing this weekly update to provide merchants with an early look at trends and insights as the global situation evolves.

Impact on Transaction Volume by Industry

Data shared below reflects buying behaviours and overall transaction volumes per industry over the last 7 days.

Fashion and Beauty

Fashion: 11% Increase (in the last week)
Beauty: 18% Increase (in the last week)
Note that this week’s increase, which may be due to promotional activity, follows a trending decline. There is wide variance among individual brands and merchandise. We expect consumers buying habits to shift, accommodating the government mandated lockdowns. Future trends will depend on whether consumers consider this discretionary spend.


  • Apparel & Accessories:
    • Athleisure: 4% Volume Increase (in the last week)
  • Beauty & Health & Self Care: 18% Volume Increase (in the last week)
    • Skincare, Makeup, Facial Lotion: 15% Volume Increase (in the last week)
      We are seeing an increase in consumers buying skincare products, as individuals now have more time to invest in their skin care routines while home in quarantine.

Digital Goods

Digital goods show relative consistency over the last week. As people are settling into new norms of quarantine, the spikes seen earlier in the month within this category have stabilized.

  • Games related in-app purchases: 6% Volume Decrease (in the last week)
  • Bitcoin & Virtual coins: 9% Volume Decrease (in the last week)


14% Volume Increase (in the last week)

On March 11th, President Trump made a speech finally noting that Coronavirus is indeed considered a global pandemic. Shortly thereafter, spikes in activity across marketplaces (March 12th and 13th) indicated that people began to rush out and stock up on supplies (face masks, hand sanitizer, rubber gloves, and toilet paper) as a result. While demand remains high, declines here are likely due to supply challenges.

  • Face Masks: 27% Volume Increase (in the last week)
  • Hand Sanitizer: 31% Volume Decrease (in the last week)
  • Rubber Gloves: 20% Volume Decrease (in the last week)
  • Toilet Paper: 29% Volume Decrease (in the last week)
  • Home Entertainment Goods: 24% Volume Increase (in the last week)

Food & Beverage / Delivery Services / QSRs / Restaurants / Groceries

15% Volume Increase

The importance of food, beverage, and delivery services has never been more acute. As restrictions on outdoor excursions grow more stringent, people around the world are in need of a means by which to get food to their homes while limiting their interactions with others. At the beginning of January 2020, there was a 7.5% rate of new accounts being opened on food service sites. At the end of March this new account rate is now 36%. New users who never before needed to order food online, are now increasingly flocking to these businesses.

  • Pickup of Meals / Groceries: 16% Volume Increase (in the last week)
  • Food Deliveries in NY: 19% Volume Increase (in the last week)
    • AOV of Food Deliveries in NY: 53% Increase (in the last week)
  • Food Deliveries in DC: 14%Volume Increase (in the last week)
    • AOV of Food Deliveries in DC: 22% Decrease (in the last week)
  • Laundry Deliveries: 9.5% Volume Decrease (in the last week)

The Coronavirus impact has and will continue to affect the global commerce climate. External factors such as regional travel mandates, shelter-in-place guidance, political leaders’ speeches, etc., will influence how, where, and when consumers buy particular products. For more information on specific industry trends amid Corona, register for Forter’s upcoming webinars here.

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