Top 4 Takeaways from the 2018 Black Friday Week Shopping Spree

Posted December 5, 2018

Top 4 Takeaways from the 2018 Black Friday Week Shopping Spree

As expected, Black Friday fever gripped online commerce all over the globe in 2018, as retailers looked to entice consumers with competitive deals in the busiest shopping week of the year.

Here is the lowdown on the top four takeaways from analysis of transaction and fraud patterns in the peak 2018 holiday shopping week on the ThreatMetrix network, providing a snapshot of global trends affecting the world of online commerce right now.

Takeaway #1: Surge in Online Transactions

transaction growth
This year saw a 20% increase in transaction volumes compared to the 2017 holiday shopping week, as consumers increasingly favor online channels.

Here, we see a few dynamics playing out, leading to this significant leap in transaction volumes in just one year.

  1. Today’s omnichannel retail shopper is steadily opting for the choice and convenience of the online shopping experience, resulting in reduced foot traffic at brick-and-mortar stores.
  2. A growing global presence for Black Friday bargains is leading to increased cross-border ecommerce during what was traditionally a cultural event unique to the U.S.
  3. holiday-week-stats

  4. While Black Friday and Cyber Monday continue to be the busiest online shopping days, as seen in this chart, the digital revolution is allowing for Black Friday deals to become increasingly spread out. With deals seen earlier in November, and extending later, consumers are increasingly spreading purchases out across the week.

Takeaway #2: Mobile Transactions Increase to 59%

mobile payment transactions
A key driver of increased online holiday sales may very well be the growing ease of the mobile shopping experience. This year, 59% of all online sales were made via smartphone or tablet, up from 52% in 2017.

Given that Thanksgiving in the US is traditionally a time for visiting family and friends, the anywhere, anytime convenience of mobile is quickly eclipsing browsing and purchase behaviour on laptops and desktop computers.

Takeaway #3: Fraudulent Transactions 2.7 Times Higher than Legitimate Transactions

average basket value
Over the holiday shopping period, retail bargains tend to boost transaction values across the board. The problem: Fraudulent transaction values are even higher.

In fact, transactions rejected as fraudulent were 2.7 times higher in value than legitimate transactions this season, an average of $260 vs. $95. The reason: Fraudsters are trying to target retailers’ busiest times to get away with as much as possible.

Takeaway #4: Bot Attacks were the Primary Attack Vector

Automated bot attacks were the primary attack vector over the 2018 peak holiday shopping week, with fraudsters attempting to overwhelm retailers with high levels of automated traffic while they’re contending with higher than average transaction volumes.
bot attacks

  1. One payment platform saw a high volume of bot attacks using session replay. Fraudsters use busy periods to launch large-scale identity credential testing, hoping to carry out other attacks down the line with credentials shown to work.
  2. Another retailer saw a whopping 20 billion login attacks using bots, with fraudsters attempting to access user accounts, which store sensitive payment and identity credentials

These bot attacks originated primarily from the U.S. and Vietnam, with some coming from China.

Celebration (and Caution) Ahead

The holiday shopping season is off to a spectacular start. With 32 shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, there’s still plenty of yuletide cheer to come. But retailers will need to stay on guard to keep fraudsters from crashing the party.

Check out our infographic showing the key 2018 holiday shopping trends.

close btn