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2016 Recap: Do Record Online and Mobile Sales Equal Record Fraud?

posted on: Tue Feb 28 2017

According to comScore, U.S. online sales – both desktop eCommerce and mobile sales – grew by double digits in 2016:

Online holiday sales were the best in history:

  • $109.3 billion in Q4 online business
  • Mobile commerce was up 45% in Q4 2016 compared to 2015, comprising 21% of all Q4 online sales
  • 30 “billion dollar days” in online spending during 2016 holiday season, effectively doubling 2015’s 16 days of $1billion/day
  • 19% increase in online spending on Black Friday and 17% increase on Cyber Monday versus 2015
Thanksgiving + Black Friday 2015 2016 % Change
Desktop eCommerce $2,752,000,000 $3,257,000,000 18%
Mobile Commerce $1,042,000,000 $1,394,000,000 34%
Total $3,794,000,000 $4,651,000,000 23%

Cyber Monday 2015 2016 % Change
Desktop eCommerce $2,280,000,000 $2,671,000,000 17%
Mobile Commerce $782,000,000 $1,009,000,000 29%
Total $3,062,000,000 $3,680,000,000 20%


Unfortunately, while online eCommerce was soaring, so was card-not-present fraud. In fact, 2016 saw the highest overall amount of eCommerce fraud ever. And 2017 is expected to see even higher eCommerce fraud.

Why? One big reason is that it has been one full year for EMV adoption. Essentially, EMV has been driving fraudsters out of card counterfeiting (card present fraud) and into the card-not-present fraud realm, where EMV provides no security.

And while all the numbers for 2016 holiday fraud are not in yet, a sampling of Kount merchants showed startling increase in the number of fraud attacks for key days this holiday season:

  • Black Friday saw a 117% increase in fraud attacks over 2015
  • Cyber Monday recorded an even higher 134% increase in fraud attacks compared to 2015
  • Mobile fraud attacks increased 111% during 2016 holidays

If record holiday chargebacks have been rolling in and creating a holiday hangover for you, find out how you can fight chargebacks in the eBook: Fighting Fraud & Chargebacks (5 Strategies for Winning).