New Delhi, April 20 (IANS) A new report, which maps the impact of Covid-19 and lockdown on digital payments, points at a few interesting trends. While the pandemic resulted in people staying indoors for most of last year, it came as a huge boost to online payments.
Among most interesting trends that emerged is the fact that the OTT segment witnessed an incredible 144 per cent increase in the number of transactions with theatres and offline entertainment avenues remaining shut, and a 139 per cent increase in expenditure between 2019 and 2020. At the same time, in the area of edu-tech, there was a 78 per cent jump in the number of transactions and 44 per cent increase in expenditure in 2020. The report by the online payment solutions provider PayU, noted that states in the Northeastern have witnessed a huge increase in digital adoption.
The report maps the impact of Covid-19 and lockdown as seen through a year-on-year change in digital payments. The pandemic gave a huge boost to online payments, seen in the 24 per cent increase in the number of transactions and 23 per cent increase in expenditure across PayU platform, year on year.
Interestingly, during the festive season (October to December 2020), there was a 45 per cent 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 (October 15 to November 15, 2020).
The number of UPI transactions grew by 288 per cent and expenditure through UPI grew a phenomenal 331 per cent between 2019 and 2020.
INDOOR ENTERTAINMENT RECEIVES BOOST
The OTT segment witnessed an incredible 144 per cent increase in the number of transactions with theatres and offline entertainment avenues remaining shut, and a 139 per cent increase in expenditure between 2019 and 2020.
The gaming segment saw a phenomenal 100 per cent increase in expenditure and a 154 percent increase in average ticket size between the two years. The ticket size increase, despite the decrease in the 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 per cent while the number of transactions made during the day decreased by 11 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019, an indication of the increased dependence on indoor entertainment while working from home.
TRAVEL AND FOOD WITNESS DECELERATION
Travel and hospitality were some of the most impacted sectors with an 86 per cent drop in the number of transactions and expenditure between pre and post-Covid quarters (January to March versus April to June 2020). Compared to 2019, there was a 46 per cent drop in the number of transactions and a 52 per cent in drop in expenditure in 2020.
The impact of the pandemic on online food aggregators was mixed. While the number of transactions declined by 28 per cent, the expenditure increased by 22 per cent and the average ticket size increased by a phenomenal 71 per cent. This is possibly because although fewer orders were placed, consumer preferred to shop from more expensive, branded food outlets that would guarantee hygiene.
INDIA UPSKILLS, EDUCATION GOES ONLINE
Ed-tech emerged as a winner, with a 78 per cent increase in the number of transactions and a 44 per cent increase in expenditure, within this period. The most likely explanations are professionals upskilling as people worked from home and students shifted to online education. In fact, the number of transactions for ed-tech increased by an incredible 69 per cent immediately after lockdown (April to May 2020 versus January to March 2020).
Though the ed-tech segment witnessed growth, the average ticket size reduced by 19 per cent, possibly as course prices dropped in response to surge in demand.
NORTHEASTERN STATES SEE ACCELERATED DIGITISATION
India saw increased digital activity as small merchants and consumers went online, but the highest increase in the number of transactions was seen in India’s Northeastern states — Nagaland (93 per cent), Meghalaya (82 per cent), Manipur (74 per cent), Arunachal Pradesh (66 per cent) and Tripura (63 per cent).
PANDEMIC BOOSTS E-COMMERCE and RETAIL
In retail and e-commerce segments there was a massive 106 per cent increase in the number of transactions and a 124 per cent 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 per cent increase in the number of transactions and a 126 per cent increase in expenditure in 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, investment etc) increased by 26 per cent, and expenditure increased by 31 per cent year-on-year. In particular, investment and insurance witnessed a 59 per cent increase in the number of transactions and expenditure saw a 53 per cent increase as consumers sought risk protection during uncertain times.
“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 that allow them to deepen customer engagement and create actionable business strategies. PayU is committed to partnering with merchants to facilitate adoption of digital infrastructure,” said Hemang Dattani, Head, Data Intelligence, PayU.