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Ecommerce spending remains strong in Europe despite short-term ups and downs 


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Ecommerce sales cooled in Europe during the week ending July 12, though online spending remained at a level considerably higher than it was before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Overall ecommerce spending for the seven-day period just ended was 19% higher than our benchmark pre-pandemic week, according to Signifyd Ecommerce Pulse data. The figure was the bright spot this week for retailers who are looking for good news.

It was also an indication of the fundamental strength of online shopping when many consumers are concerned about venturing out to shop in stores at a time when there is no vaccine to slow the spread of the coronavirus and no specific treatment for the disease it causes.

Week-over-week spending presented a gloomier picture, with overall online sales down 35%, all but reversing last week’s 40% gain. Few commerce verticals were spared with week-over-week losses in Luxury Goods hitting 84%, Beauty & Cosmetics down 30%, Fashion & Apparel falling 20% and Home Goods & Decor slipping 18%.

In fact, of the dozen categories the Ecommerce Pulse follows closely, only one had a positive week. Consumer Medical Supplies & Supplements sales were up 5% for the week. 

As consumers have settled into a “for-now normal” way of life, we have seen more of a sawtooth pattern when it comes to weekly shifts in spending. Sales have been down week-over-week three of the last five weeks, but the ups and downs have alternated, meaning we are not seeing a steady, downward slide. 

For their part, retailers have turned to e-commerce as a savior — first during the lockdown and now that non-essential stores are reopening, but with social distancing and other restrictions in place. All of this is evidenced not so much in the week-to-week gyrations, but in the cumulative changes in ecommerce spending.

Pulse data shows that since the first week of March, shortly before the World Health Organization declared the pandemic, ecommerce spending has exploded in certain commerce verticals. Online sales in Home Goods & Decor is up 130% compared to early March. Auto, Parts & Tires ecommerce spending has increased 120%. Grocery buying online is up 37%, Consumer Medical Supplies & Supplements is 30% higher than pre-pandemic and Leisure & Outdoor is tracking 20% above early March. 

Signifyd’s data has also uncovered another trend — this one involving fraudulent activity. The Auto, Parts & Tires and the Home Goods & Decor verticals — both among the top performing verticals — have been fairly consistent fraud targets, according to the Signifyd Fraud Pressure Index. Home goods is seeing a 245% increase in fraud pressure compared to pre-pandemic days. Auto Parts and Tires are not far behind, at a 231% increase. 

Signifyd’s Fraud Pressure Index represents the rise and fall of orders on the Commerce Network that our machine-learning system, based on thousands of signals, determines are at very high risk of being fraudulent.  

Photo by Getty Images

Mike Cassidy

Mike is lead storyteller at Signifyd. A former journalist and a retail geek, he covers ecommerce and the way technology is transforming digital commerce. Contact him at mike.cassidy@signifyd.com; follow him on Twitter at @mikecassidy.