Holiday e-commerce fraud peaks along with the most popular shopping days, with fraud attempts rising as the volume of sales does; online fraud attempts rise to nearly three times the average daily e-commerce fraud attempts between Nov. 20 and Nov. 27, according to a report from retail fraud prevention platform Riskified.
Throughout the holiday season, mobile app orders usually experience 70% fewer fraud attempts compared to the rest of the year, putting them on par with desktop orders, per the report. Though online order volume was almost four times the average during "Cyber Weekend" last year, meaning Nov. 23 to Nov. 27, e-commerce fraud was still a small segment of the entire order population.
The report found that holiday shoppers tend to buy the most fashion during the pre-sales season, defined as Nov. 1 through Nov. 22; electronics during Cyber Weekend; and gift cards during Christmas.
Given that mobile apps seem to be a safer channel for e-commerce purchases, the report recommends that retailers encourage consumers to buy goods via apps. Though many consumers plan to shop in stores, PwC found that more than half of consumers are shopping online, and research from the video ad firm AdColony said consumers are turning to their smartphones for online shopping more than other devices.
Riskified's research also notes that in 70% of instances in which customers' credit cards are declined, they can actually afford the transaction. The report advises retailers to offer consumers alternative payment methods during the holidays to capture those sales and, in turn, grow revenue. Affirm, the installment payments platform, launched its mobile app in hopes of winning over credit card-cautious consumers, noting that 67% of shoppers want to avoid credit cards over the holidays.
While mobile may be a safer bet for fraud prevention, fraud attempts are inevitable as the volume of sales rises, and they're coming for multiple directions, including through retailer loyalty programs. Fraud attacks can be costly as well, with each dollar of fraud costing retailers $3.13, and Target's 2013 holiday season data breach ultimately costing the retailer an $18.5 million settlement. Recent customer data hacks have plagued retailers as well, from Uniqlo in May to Macy's and Bloomingdale's last year.