Nearly 10 million people boarded airplanes during Memorial Day weekend, perhaps accompanied by luggage they bought in May, or even in April or March. For the third consecutive month, luggage sales have been an ecommerce leader, rising 39% in May compared to a year ago, according to Signifyd data.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that about 300,000 more flew during the holiday weekend than in pre-pandemic 2019.
BREAKING NEWS: Over the 4-day #MemorialDayWeekend, TSA screened almost 9.8M individuals at airports nationwide, which is about 300K higher than the same holiday weekend in 2019. Friday’s final volume of about 2.74M is our highest post pandemic single day record.
— TSA (@TSA) May 30, 2023
This all leads to hopeful thoughts of life returning to normal, but other May ecommerce data tracked by Signifyd doesn’t quite provide that same outlook.
Overall, ecommerce sales were up 2% in May over last year. That matched the last month’s buying pattern, Signifyd data shows. The only vertical showing an increase was apparel, accessories and footwear – which includes luggage. For the fifth consecutive month, apparel led all verticals, up 8% overall in May from last year powered by increases in fashion (12%) and footwear (19%). Sales of jewelry were down (-6%), according to Signifyd.
Online retail statistics for May show verticals’ ups and downs
All other verticals were flat or down in May from a year ago, perhaps indicating that the trend of foregoing discretionary spending has become more of the norm. Even electronics sales were flat overall in May, though some categories in that vertical performed well – computer hardware sales rose 47% and musical instruments were up 59%, Signifyd shows.
Key ecommerce sales statistics for May:
- Overall in May, ecommerce product volume rose 6% and transactions were up 10%, year over year. Coupled with an average order volume increase of 3%, this indicates a trend seen throughout this fragile economic period of consumers paying less to purchase more items. This is helped in part when consumers purchase more low-ticket items and switch to generic from brand names.
- As in April, lower discretionary spending was evident in the May sales of three other major verticals tracked by Signifyd: sales were down in home goods and in health and beauty (both -4%), and sporting goods (-1%).
- In the health and beauty vertical, sales of cosmetics rose a healthy 12%, but the wellness and fitness category showed a drop of 20%, Signifyd shows.
- Sporting goods sales, though down overall, were helped by a 309% increase in gift-card spending, though ecommerce sales in most categories other than bats and balls were hurting: outdoor camping was down 8% and leisure declined 4%, according to Signifyd.
- The number of sporting goods orders was up 10% in May. Couple that with a 4% drop in AOV and it indicates that maybe the typical weekend warrior wasn’t buying the top-of-the-line tennis racket, but one that would still get the job done.
- Home goods sales continued to suffer in May from a year ago, with home improvement down 2% and furniture and decor down 7%, Signifyd data shows.
Ecommerce fraud also flourished in May
The May U.S. jobs report brought a glimmer of hope to the economic market, as did the more widespread chatter and possibilities of using AI, according to market analysts. But also in May, fraudsters upped their game significantly over last year with attempts to scam merchants, according to Signifyd, which employs its expertise in AI to shutter the thieves.
|May 2023 ecommerce fraud statistics vs. May 2022|
|Consumer abuse||+ 217%|
|Account takeover pressure||+144%|
Customer abuse — or false claims of packages never arriving or of damaged goods showing up, for instance — soared in May, up 217% from a year ago.
To drill down, false claims of an item not received (INR) rose 358%, and scams falsely claiming an item was damaged or significantly not as described (SNAD) rose 446%, Signifyd data shows.
SNAD attempts were apparently the scam pick of the month, with electronics hit the hardest, up 924% from a year ago, and apparel next, up 514%. Electronics also had its share of INR claims in May, up 428%. Customer abuse attempts in the sporting goods vertical, though down overall, rose 252% specifically in equipment, Signifyd shows.
What are the most recent scams?
But those weren’t the only methods fraudsters used in May. Attacks on aged accounts, when fraudsters try to infiltrate customers’ accounts that have lingered on the web, rose 144% overall from last year, with rises in bot attacks (217%) and device spoofing (101%) adding to the mix, Signifyd data shows. Health and beauty and electronics tracked the highest rise in aged account fraud pressure, up 158% and 123%, respectively, from a year ago.
Compared to other verticals, health and beauty had a meager 60% rise in customer abuse in May, but was hit hard with bot attacks, up 552%, and with device and geo spoofing attempts, up 127% and 265%, respectively, from last year, Signifyd shows. These spoofing scams try to mask the device or IP address from which an order originates.
Consumer abuse showed a minor uptick in home goods
Interestingly, May customer abuse claims in the beleaguered home goods vertical showed a minimal overall increase of 11% from a year ago, but still recorded a huge rise of 455% in scamming attempts in the subset of home improvement items, which can be products such as new toilets or tools, Signifyd data shows.
Otherwise, fraudsters left home goods alone and concentrated on other verticals. Apparently, they were just too busy scheming on makeup and computers.
Photo by Getty Images
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