Consumer spending and mobile shopping exceeded expectations

By Alan Wolf, YSN

Despite the challenging economic environment, the 2022 holiday shopping season in general — and online sales in particular — far exceeded expectations, according to research by ACI Worldwide.

The Florida-based business, which provides real-time digital payment software, analyzed millions of e-commerce transactions year-over-year. Besides affirming the resiliency of the U.S. consumer, the data revealed a 21% spike in online sales from October through December 2022, handily beating ACI’s own estimates of 6% growth.

Leading the charge was mobile shopping, which comprised 36% of all transactions on Black Friday and drove a 17% increase in transaction volume for all of Black Friday weekend. What’s more, purchases via smartphones soared 43% on Cyber Monday compared to the prior year.

“Consumers upped their spending this holiday season despite increasing economic pressures,” said Basant Singh, who heads ACI’s merchant segment. “While inflation accounted for much of the year-over-year rise in holiday spending, our data shows a steady uptick in transactions, with many consumers buying goods and services via mobile devices, and in many cases using digital wallets as a preferred payment method. We expect to see these trends continue in 2023.”

Broken out by payment method, credit and debit cards remained consumers’ top choice when purchasing big-ticket items like furniture and appliances, with transactions using plastic rising 8% and average ticket value climbing 43%. Shoppers also actively sought out buy-online, pick-up in-store options (BOPIS) as a cheaper alternative to shipping costs and delivery wait times. BOPIS sales rose 18% year over year last holiday season, concomitant with a 26% increase in average ticket value.

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Likewise, use of digital wallets increased 32% last quarter, reflecting a broader trend, and total buy-now, pay-later (BNPL) transactions rose 87% on Black Friday alone.

“Consumers, especially younger shoppers, are embracing digital wallets as a mainstream payment method,” Singh said. “More than half of consumers used a digital wallet in 2021, according to our data. This represents a 33% increase over the last five years.”

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