PayU, India’s leading online payments solution provider, has mapped the impact of COVID-19 & lockdown as seen through year-on-year change in digital payments. The pandemic gave a huge boost to online payments, seen in the 24% increase in the number of transactions and 23% increase in expenditure across the PayU platform, year-on-year. Interestingly, during the festive season (October-December 2020) there was a 45% spike in number of online transactions vis-a-vis the same period in the previous year. In line with this trend, PayU processed close to 100 million transactions in a single month during the festive period (15 October-15 November, 2020).

The number of UPI transactions grew by 288% and expenditure through UPI grew a phenomenal 331% between 2019 and 2020.

INDOOR ENTERTAINMENT RECEIVED BOOST

As theatres and offline entertainment avenues remained shut, consumers turned to indoor entertainment. The OTT segment witnessed an incredible 144% increase in number of transactions and 139% increase in expenditure between 2019 and 2020. The gaming segment saw a phenomenal 100% increase in expenditure and 154% increase in average ticket size between the two years. The ticket size increase, despite decrease in number of transactions, could be because consumers shifted from multiple small transactions to single large transactions as gaming became a permanent lifestyle feature.  For gaming and entertainment, the number of transactions made at night increased by 34% while number of transaction made during the day decreased by 11% in 2020 vs. 2019, an indication of the increased dependence on indoor entertainment while working from home.

TRAVEL & FOOD WITNESS DECELERATION

Travel and hospitality were some of the most impacted sectors with an 86% drop in number of transactions and expenditure between pre and post-COVID quarters (Jan-March vs. April-June 2020). Compared to ’19, there was 46% drop in number of transactions and 52% in drop in expenditure in ’20.

The impact of the pandemic on online food aggregators was mixed. While the number of transactions declined by 28%, expenditure increased by 22% and the average ticket size increased by a phenomenal 71%. This is possibly because although fewer orders were placed, consumer preferred to shop from more expensive, branded food outlets which could guarantee hygiene.

INDIA UPSKILLS, EDUCATION GOES ONLINE

Edtech emerged as a winner, with a 78% increase in the number of transactions and a 44% increase in expenditure, within this period. The most likely explanations are professionals upskilling as they worked from home and students shifting to online education. In fact, the number of transactions for edtech increased by an incredible 69% immediately after the lockdown (April-May 2020 vs. January-March 2020). Though edtech segment witnessed growth, the average ticket size reduced by 19%, possibly as course prices dropped in response to surge in demand.

NORTHEASTERN STATES SEE ACCELERATED DIGITISATION

India saw increased digital activity as small merchants & consumers went online but the highest increase in number of transactions was seen in India’s North Eastern states –  Nagaland (93%), Meghalaya (82%), Manipur (74%), Arunachal Pradesh (66%) and Tripura (63%).

PANDEMIC BOOSTS ECOMMERCE & RETAIL

In retail and ecommerce segments,there was a massive 106% increase in number of transactions and 124% increase in expenditure between the first and last six months of 2020. The most likely explanations are increased adoption by Indians, including older users and consumers from smaller towns, to enforce social distancing norms. It could also account for the 115% increase in number of transactions and a 126% increase in expenditure between the October-December period in 2019 and 2020, as Indians mostly conducted their festive shopping online.

PROTECTING AGAINST RISK

The number of transactions for financial services (lending, insurance and investment etc.) increased by 26% and expenditure increased by 31% year-on-year. In particular, investment & insurance witnessed a 59% increase in the number of transactions and expenditure saw a 53% increase as consumers sought risk protection during uncertain times.

Commenting on the insights report, Hemang Dattani, Head- Data Intelligence, PayU said, “As a leader in the Indian digital payments industry, and the preferred partner for India’s largest online businesses, PayU has a unique vantage point in capturing evolving year-on-year trends. It is a pioneer in driving value addition for merchants and banks through data insights, offering targeted solutions which allow them to deepen customer engagement & create actionable business strategies. PayU is committed to partnering with merchants to facilitate adoption of digital infrastructure.”

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