China Singles’ Day: Let There Be Love Not Cybercrime War
Posted November 10, 2016
China Singles’ Day is a popular holiday for the young, free and single Chinese population; celebrated on November 11th because the number “1” graphically represents single person status. So 11/11 becomes a group of singles celebrating together, or simply an opportunity for declarations of love and auspicious marriages.
Singles’ Day has also translated to one of the biggest online shopping days of the year as people take the opportunity to celebrate, or perhaps commiserate, with a little retail therapy. Presents for loved ones, or more likely an opportunity for some guilt-free spending on “Number One.” Sales at Alibaba’s sites were over US$14 billion in 2015 and are expected to be exponentially bigger in 2016.
E-commerce merchants fuel the fire by releasing hourly deals that are snapped up the moment they go live, with users leveraging the flexibility of “mobile” shopping, contributing to sustained transaction volumes throughout the day.
And where there is an online shopping frenzy, prolific cybercrime attacks always follow. 2016 will be no exception. What ThreatMetrix learned from the 2015 holiday season is that transaction volumes were up to 10 times higher on key shopping days, with multiple hourly peaks throughout the day. Cybercriminals pounced; fraudulent basket values were 70% higher than average to take advantage of the inflated holiday ticket sizes of luxury gifts. And a well timed bot attack could have devastating consequences on those hourly deals, potentially wiping out vast streams of revenue from particularly popular sales.
Year-on-year data from the ThreatMetrix Digital Identity Network gives us a unique vantage point to make accurate predictions for what we expect to see tomorrow, and throughout the holiday shopping season. The Network currently analyzes close to 2 billion transactions a month and stopped 130 million attacks in Q3 2016, 40% increase on 2015.
Transaction Predictions for Singles’ Day and Beyond
- Transaction volumes will be approximately 12 times higher on China Singles’ day. However, online holiday shopping traffic to remain high beyond the usual peak days as retailers attempt to maintain a strong momentum to end the year.
- Strong transaction volumes will come from logins and digital wallets as consumers rely heavily on previously stored payment credentials to make fast, frictionless transactions to secure the best bargains.
- Around 50% of e-commerce transactions will come from mobile as consumers use the convenience of mobile devices to make timely purchases.
Fraud Attack Frenzy During the Holiday Season
- We predict around 50 million cybercrime attacks over the peak holiday week.
- Automated bot attacks will feature heavily, potentially representing more of the overall transaction volume than legitimate traffic, as fraudsters attempt to mass-test identity credentials to infiltrate user shopping accounts.
- Fraudsters will continue to try and sneak through high value transactions amid the larger basket sizes, hoping to capitalize on e-commerce merchants desire to maintain a friction free shopping experience for trusted users.
Digital Identity Recognition: A Match Made in Retail Heaven
E-commerce merchants must strike the right balance between fraud control and frictionless online access to goods and services. ThreatMetrix was able to recognize around 85% of all returning user devices during the 2015 holiday season, which helped keep friction low for trusted customers. By leveraging digital identity intelligence from the Network, we can also accurately detect fraudulent or high-risk behavior in real time, before trusted user accounts are compromised.
As in 2015, we expect that around 75% of transactions will come from devices that transact more than once during the peak shopping period, and around 50% that transact almost daily. This makes accurate recognition of returning customers a business imperative.