Europe: e-commerce is in decline while fraud continues to rise

November 16, 2022

A recent analysis published by San Jose-based software company, Signifyd, revealed consumers are making an effort in order to spend less – and even scamming ecommerce companies, seeking free products.

According to another report by McKinsey & Company, European consumers are turning to bargain products, trying stores that offer lower prices and trying to avoid highly-priced items. This is all a product of inflation

As of the summer, in fact, inflation was the region’s No. 1 worry for those living in Europe’s largest economies, considerably outpacing the war in Ukraine.

- Payments Cards and Mobile

More than half of Europeans believe their country’s economy is in bad shape, and 36% of them revealed they do not see their economy recovering any time soon.

As a result, they admit they have tried to consciously reduce their spending as the year passes by. As a consequence, the e-commerce sector has seen a steady decline in sales, and the situation isn’t looking much better in the near future as the holiday shopping season starts.

During the closely watched Cyber Week, with its mythical Black Friday, consumers will be spending more online than last year to buy less. And they won’t be spending much more, according to projections.

- Payments Cards and Mobile

In addition to inflation, European consumers have been having friction with the shopping experience created by SCA regulations. Having to identify themselves with at least two pieces of information – something they are or something they know- has reportedly been turning consumers off digital shopping.

Half of Italian consumers, 45% of consumers in France and 36% of consumers in the UK have had to abandon purchases because of trouble with SCA, according to the survey of 2,000 shoppers in each country.

- Payments Cards and Mobile

United Kingdom

The survey “The State of Commerce in Europe 2023”revealed respondents in the UK have little to no shame in admitting they have tried to cheat on returns and claims of poor service when engaging in digital shopping. 32% admitted they falsely claimed an e-commerce order was not to their satisfaction after delivery in order to obtain a refund on an item they intended to keep, 26% said the item was not delivered in order to keep the product for free, and 4% admitted to returning an empty box, or a box containing different products from what they ordered.

These responses should worry UK based merchants as we enter the holiday shopping season.

The survey also showed 55% of UK consumers are spending less money during these “inflationary times”.

And the question now becomes, will more consumers turn to scamming British merchants in order to spend less in their online shopping?

The State of Commerce report makes clear that after several challenging years, neither the economy nor the rising levels of fraud and abuse are getting any easier for retailers.

- Ed Whitehead, Signifyd managing director, EMEA


This report also revealed online sales in Europe are down by 16.6% this year, this compared to H1, 2021, when online sales had risen 10.6%.

The prediction is that Cyber Week sales across Europe will rise by 3%, but this “higher spending” won’t be there to stay, it is expected that during November and December, sales will go down by 4%.

Inflation continues to hit both consumers and merchants alike, and this year many items will be out of consumers’ reach.

Want to learn more? Check out Payment Cards and Mobile’s full write-up here.

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