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Trends Like Open Banking And BNPL Will Sustain E-Commerce’s Hot Streak, a Report Says

Open banking, single-click checkout wallets, and the hot buy now, pay later trend will all help drive e-commerce volume worldwide in the coming five years, predicts Juniper Research in a report released Monday. This momentum is likely to push online sales long after the short-term impetus from the pandemic subsides, Juniper says.

E-commerce volume totaled $4.9 trillion globally in 2021, a figure the United Kingdom-based research firm forecasts will reach $7.5 trillion in 2026, when China will control a 37% share. Wider availability of multiple e-commerce channels, including mobile devices, will propel the overall growth worldwide, Juniper says. But along with the boom in e-commerce will come a corresponding growth in fraud via identity theft, account takeovers, and fraudulent chargebacks, the report warns. China, for example, will account for more than 40% of fraud losses worldwide in 2025, at more than $12 billion, Juniper forecasts.

Open banking is a trend by which fintechs can verify balances in consumers’ accounts and transfer funds to pay for online purchases. As standards bodies work to promulgate standards for this business, e-commerce payment providers “should … partner with specialists in … specific emerging payment areas to keep pace with changing merchant expectations around acceptance types,” the research firm says in its release, referring to digital wallets and crypto as well as open banking.

Open banking has taken on a higher profile in the global payments market with efforts by both of the global card networks to acquire firms that specialize in this area. Visa Inc. has acquired Tink AB, while Mastercard Inc. bought Aiia and Finicity Corp.

Physical goods will continue to dominate e-commerce spending, the report says, accounting for 82% of payment value by 2026. To tap into the trend, Juniper advises, payments providers should support buy now, pay later plans, which allow consumers to split purchases into four equal installments paid over a six-week period at no interest. BNPL is becoming more controversial, however, as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has launched an investigation of the option and as reports emerge that consumers with multiple accounts are more likely to miss a payment.

While still a big trend, e-commerce sales in the U.S. market cooled significantly last year as the pandemic effect lost some of its force. Third-quarter sales in 2021 reached $214.6 billion, up 6.6% year-over-year, according to the Census Bureau, which tracks retail sales. That follows an 8.9% rise in the second quarter and three straight quarters with increases of 32% or more. Fourth-quarter 2021 results are not yet available.

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