Confirming other studies showing that the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have spurred online sales, the financial services company Visa said that it is seeing a “massive acceleration toward e-commerce adoption.”
In an interview with the financial website MarketWatch, Visa’s chief product officer Jack Forestell said that in Latin America alone, 13 million Visa cardholders made e-commerce transactions for the first time in the three months to March. The figure represented about two in 10 active Visa cardholders in the region. In the U.S., e-commerce spending rose by 18 percent during the month of April, excluding travel, according to Visa.
Forestell admitted that e-commerce adoption had been rising prior to the pandemic, but the current crisis has been an opportunity to improve the digital shopping experience for people relying on the internet to shop.
He also expects that the shift toward digital payments, from other forms of payment, will continue even as more businesses reopen their physical locations. Forestell noted that stores currently offering curbside pickup solutions are relying on digital payment. “Transactions happen in the physical world but the payments themselves are happening in a remote way,” he said.
Visa expects further growth in “touchless commerce” as more people consider tap-to-pay transactions. Usage of contactless, or tap, payments in the U.S. rose by 150 percent year-on-year in March relative to a year earlier, Forestell said. He stressed that the U.S. is seeing stronger growth in contactless usage because the country lags other markets. Visa pointed out that in the rest of the world, 60 percent of face-to-face transactions are now contactless.