Winter holidays are fast approaching. But before taking in all the Christmas feel – and the shopping craziness that comes with it – let us take a moment (or maybe more) for a quick recap of some key industry developments and estimates.

A first trillion-dollar shopping spree in the US

Christmas shoppers are set to spend over USD 1 trillion this year in the US, as data from FastCompany indicates. Also, online sales are expected to jump by 16.6%.

And just in case you do not have a mobile friendly website, you will miss out on a huge opportunity, as over USD 54 billion will be spent via smartphones and tablets.

Further online grocery retail market expansion

Good news for players in the US online grocery retail industry: the market is predicted to hit USD 26.87 billion in value by 2025. As a report from Hexa Rearch indicates, the main factors that will contribute to this development include millennials’ preference for convenient shopping options, high “adoption of advanced technology and easy online availability of various products”.

In recent news, Walmart announced the launch of a new in-store app that gives store associates immediate access to Walmart.com, so they can help customers select, order and pay for items right in the store. At the same time, Amazon continues to pursue its Go expansion ambitions. The company is considering top US airports for new Amazon Go locations and since January this year, it has already opened seven of the stores to the public.

So far, we have dedicated quite some attention to the cashierless concept in stores and the topic will be definitely an interesting trend to watch in 2019, as well.

Meanwhile on the regulatory front

As we mentioned earlier this year, the European Commission has issued updates for ending unjustified geo-blocking across the region and now, the new rules are already in force (as of 3rd December).

The regulation addresses the problem of some customers not being able to purchase goods and services from traders located in a different Member State because of their nationality, place of residence or place of establishment. More specifically:

“Geo-blocking practices include denying access to websites from other Member States and/or situations where access to a website is granted, but the customer from abroad is prevented from finalising the purchase or is asked to pay with a debit or credit card from a certain country. ‘Geodiscrimination’ also takes place when buying goods and services off-line, e.g. when consumers are physically present at the trader’s location but are either prevented from accessing a product or service or from being offered different conditions due to their nationality or residence.”

As it happens with regulation, most often than not, updates and laws come with a couple of exceptions. In this case – you can find them here.

MasterCard, Microsoft and digital identity

The two companies joined forces to improve the way people manage and use their digital identity, according to an official press release.

Although not many specific details have been unveiled yet, it is worth mentioning that the initiative will enable the creation of a service that allows individuals to enter, control and share their identity data their way, on the devices they use every day.

This will constitute the foundation for new Mastercard services powered by Microsoft Azure and built in collaboration with players in the banking, mobile network operator and government communities.

Last but not least: interested in learning more about the newest holiday fraud threats? Check this article by PaymentsSource.

The Christmas spirit brings a two-edged sword when it comes to online selling/ shopping. So, are you prepared for the challenge? If not, you know what to ask Santa: some smart ways to help prevent fraudsters from damaging your business.