Bad Santas: Shoppers Are Worried About Fraud This Holiday Season

It is conventional wisdom that consumers are worried about inflation. But there is another concern that may loom even larger this holiday season: 54% of shoppers fear they will be victimized by fraud -- a 17% increase over last year, according to TransUnion’s 2022 Holiday Shopping Report, a study released Thursday. 

These fears are apparent in the reasons people give for abandoning shopping carts

  • Shipping costs — 26%
  • Payment Issues — 11%
  • Fraud Concern — 72%
  • Poor Website Experience — 17%
  • Not enough security on site — 40%

Overall, 63% have the same level of concern about fraud and identity theft as last year -- but that is down from 70% in 2021. In contrast, 33% are more worried now -- up from 25% last year. 

“Increases in consumer fears about fraud and desires for security were a recurring theme in this year’s holiday shopping report,” says Cecilia Seiden, vice president of TransUnion’s retail business. “We also found consumers increasingly expect online retailers to deliver safe and seamless shopping experiences as they have less patience for errors and inconvenience.”



The lesson for email teams is clear. Brand trust is based on consent and best practices like not sending too many messages and offering value in those you do sent. Above all, don’t do anything creepy. 

Then there is BIMI (brand indicators for message identification), the protocol that allows brands to place their logos in authenticated emails — those that have been backed up with DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Receiving & Conformance). It’s time for reputable brands to embrace it. 

Consumers themselves are of two minds on security measures. Mobile shoppers feel these tools are very important:

  • Use of payment technology (i.e., Google or Apple pay) — 26%
  • Use of two-factor authentication — 39%
  • Use of device security capabilities (ie., biometrics) — 37%
  • Auto-fill of personal data and credit information — 26%

But these security measures are deemed a hassle, and will stop consumers from completing the transaction:

  • Image CAPTCHA — 13%
  • Knowledge based questions (e.g. childhood best friend) — 22%
  • Test CAPTCHA — 12%
  • Two-factor authentication — 17%
  • Verifying personal details — 36%

Also, there is a a 53% increase among consumers who feel that having their personal information pre-filled at checkout is very important, and an 18% decrease in the number who say this feature is not important.

Meanwhile, there is a certain flatness to the mood: 23% of consumers are more enthusiastic this year than in 2021, but 60% say they feel about the same and 17% are less inspired.

Baby boomers are the least enthusiastic — 22% say they are less so than last year, and 74% about the same. In contrast, 37% of Gen Z is more enthusiastic, along with 43% of millennials.  

Those who are more enthusiastic cite these reasons:

  • I’m in a better financial position  —35%
  • I’m excited to get back to normalcy — 27%
  • Takes my mind off events happening in the world — 21%
  • I have new people in my life — 17%

Those who are less enthusiastic say the following:

  • I don’t have enough money to buy the gifts I want to give — 42%
  • My mind is consumed with the problems of the day — 25%
  • I don’t think these will be great deals — 15%
  • Shopping in stores isn’t as much fun as it used to be — 14%
  • I already spent money in other events (e.g., Prime Day) — 3%

What makes a great discount? It’s 30% off. And quick delivery is thought to be within two days. 

“The pandemic firmly established that online shopping is here to stay, but it also led to a more discriminate shopper wherein consumers are less patient with retailers,” Seiden adds. 

Seiden concludes: “The message from consumers to retailers is clear — 'if you want my business then ensure my information is secure, give me your best deal and don’t make me wait too long.’”

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