Sift Data Report: How the Global Pandemic Is Affecting Specific Industries and Consumer Behavior

Sift Data Report: How the Global Pandemic Is Affecting Specific Industries and Consumer Behavior

April 16, 2020

You don’t have to look further than the front page of your local newspaper to know that Covid-19, and the global response to combat it, is affecting the economy. But while some verticals are being hammered by widespread stay-at-home orders and general uncertainty, some industries are seeing unprecedented demand.

To get a handle on which industries are being hardest hit and which are seeing explosive growth, we analyzed our internal event volume data. An event is any interaction a customer sends to us, e.g., account creation, transaction, login attempt, etc.

Before we dive into the findings, a little on methodology. We analyze 35 billion events per month to uncover new fraud signals and trends. At that size, our network is representative of the digital economy as a whole. To illustrate what we uncovered, and to eliminate day-to-day fluctuations, we are using a seven-day moving average.

Overall event volume is up

Believe it or not, overall event volume is up when looking at all verticals (food & beverage, travel, digital e-commerce, etc.) combined. While some verticals are seeing a decline in volume, others are experiencing a significant uptick.

Sift Infographic 1 041620

The above graph shows overall event volume from February on. Beginning in March and continuing through the 23rd of that month, the Sift network saw a nearly 19 percent increase in event volume.

Some verticals are having a tough time

While overall event volume is up, however, some verticals haven’t been so lucky. That is especially true when looking at the Ticketing/Events industry.

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As illustrated above, the Ticketing/Events vertical experienced a dramatic decrease in event volume beginning in mid-February and accelerating through March. This could be due to the restrictions on large gatherings of people in response to the coronavirus and the cancellation of many concerts, conferences, and other events. The drop is staggering—the Ticketing/Events industry saw an event volume decline of 81.7 percent between March 1 and March 23.

The same goes for the Travel vertical. Beginning in February, as travel bans and restrictions were enacted, we saw a decline in overall Travel event volume. But it isn’t until mid-March that we saw volume fall off a cliff. The graph below shows the Travel industry experienced a 27.3 percent decline in volume March 1 – 23, 2020.

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On-demand is in high demand

Not all verticals are seeing a decline in traffic. In fact, the realities of social distancing have been a boon for Digital E-Commerce, which includes digital goods like on-demand video and online gaming. With widespread shelter-in-place orders in effect, consumers have decidedly turned to the internet for entertainment or purchases they would have otherwise made in person. The result—a big uptick in event volume. We saw an event volume increase of 34.4 percent.

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Likewise for Food & Beverage, which includes food delivery services and quick-service restaurants (QSRs). With most restaurants closed to diners, many are pivoting to providing takeout or delivery options. In the first three weeks of March, the industry experienced a remarkable 27.3 percent increase in event volume.

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Want to learn more about how the pandemic is affecting specific verticals or how you can navigate these uncertain times? Read our recent blog, How the Coronavirus is Impacting Consumer Behavior and Fraud, and download our new guide, Fraud Prevention During Economic Unrest.

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