Mastercard Research Shows Surge in Digital Payments as E-commerce Reaches New Heights Around the World

June 18, 2020 | June 18, 2020

Study shows consumers worldwide opting for touch-free, secure and seamless ways to pay

The way we shop is changing. With constraints imposed on our daily lives due to COVID-19, consumers are adopting new payment habits at an accelerated pace, according to a global study by Mastercard conducted in 15 markets. Consumers are increasingly moving away from cash and opting for contact-free and digital payments experiences – and they don’t expect to go back. E-commerce is also seeing a surge, with Mastercard SpendingPulse reporting record growth rates across the globe as consumers increasingly shop online.

As our payment behaviors evolve, two notable trends emerge in our research:

  • In store, a massive move away from cash: Globally, almost seven in 10 consumers say the shift to digital payments will likely be permanent, and nearly half of consumers plan to use cash less, even after the pandemic subsides, according to a Mastercard weekly survey launched April 27.

Since the pandemic began, nearly half (46%) of respondents in Asia Pacific say they are using cash less often, while two-thirds of Latin American consumers say they are using cash less or not at all. In Europe, which already had the largest adoption of contactless payments of any region, 64 percent say tap and pay is now their preferred way to pay in-store.

  • A steep increase in e-commerce: As highlighted in Mastercard’s newly released Recovery Insights: Shift to Digital report, e-commerce has reached new heights. Mastercard SpendingPulse1, which measures retail sales across all payment types including cash and check, shows that United States e-commerce spending grew by 93 percent year-over-year in the month of May. And in April and May, e-commerce as a share of total retail sales reached 33% in the United Kingdom – an unprecedented high (ex. auto, petrol and restaurants). Note that e-commerce follows the Census definition*.

“While no one could have predicted the state of the world we’re in today, it has reinforced the necessity for us to continue evolving the consumer payment experience to meet the consumer wherever they are,” says Jorn Lambert, Executive Vice President, Digital Solutions. “We’ve been focused on building our Digital-First capabilities for years, which have enabled this accelerated shift to digital payments – it’s unlikely consumers will revert to old payment habits.”

Building the Foundation for the Future of Payments

From a simplified online checkout experience to an in-store tap on a contactless terminal, Mastercard is leveraging its insights and technology, forging critical partnerships and driving innovation to ensure a solid foundation to deliver the future of payments.

  • Using non-sensitive data to enhance security: Mastercard Digital Enablement Service (MDES) turns card numbers into tokens that become useless to fraudsters and eliminates the frustration of manually updating your card information. MDES is live with more than 2,600 issuers and 1,200 token requestors, and we’re rapidly adding global players from across the ecosystem, including Adyen, Braintree, a PayPal Service, Etsy, Mercado Libre/Mercado Pago, Mastercard Payment Gateway Services (MPGS), PayPal, Stripe, Thales, T-Mobile, and Checkout to deliver this security at scale.
  • One-click payments to speed checkout: Click to Pay, our one-click checkout experience, uses tokenization to secure your card credentials and makes passwords a thing of the past. Enrollment is being made simple for consumers including Citi’s tens of millions of cardholders in the United States who can now push their card credentials from their banking mobile app to merchants and Click to Pay. More than 10,000 merchants have been enabled for Click to Pay, including Crate & Barrel, Expedia, Fresh Direct and Saks Fifth Avenue. Technology partners such as MPGS are important to enabling acceptance for merchants, and we also work closely with ACI Worldwide, Aurus, Global Payments, and Square.
  • Digital First powers consumer choice: Even before the pandemic, mobile devices have been our primary source of communication, information and, increasingly, commerce. That’s why, instead of merely supporting physical cards with digital experiences, we’ve been focused on designing digital products from the ground up, with the physical card optional. This summer, we’re partnering with Samsung and SoFi to deliver a Digital First debit card backed by a cash management account called Samsung Money by SoFi. We have also launched Digital First programs with Falabella in Latin America, GrabPay in Singapore and the Philippines, Mox by Standard Chartered and WeLab Bank in Hong Kong, and cooperative banks in Germany.

"Amidst an incredibly challenging time for individuals, for communities and for businesses, we’re seeing sparks of change brought upon by the growth of digitally-savvy consumers and businesses embracing technology that will enable a swifter, more secure future,” Lambert added.

Read how the acceleration of e-commerce is transforming checkout


Survey Methodology

Mastercard proprietary study conducted between April 27-May 17, 2020 among adults 18+. 6,750 interviews were conducted across 15 countries: Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Italy, Spain, Japan, Mexico, Russia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and The United States of America.

*E-commerce sales are sales of goods and services where the buyer places an order, or the price and terms of the sale are negotiated over an Internet, mobile device (M-commerce), extranet, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) network, electronic mail, or other comparable online system. Payment may or may not be made online.

[1] About Mastercard SpendingPulse

Mastercard SpendingPulse reports on national retail sales across all payment types in select markets around the world. The findings are based on aggregate sales activity in the Mastercard payments network, coupled with survey-based estimates for certain other payment forms, such as cash and check. As such, SpendingPulse™ insights do not in any way contain, reflect or relate to actual Mastercard operational or financial performance, or specific payment-card-issuer data.


Media Contacts

Katie Priebe
+1 (914) -707-9822 |

Jennifer Langione
+1 (914)-318-2111 |

About Mastercard (NYSE:MA)

Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. Our decency quotient, or DQ, drives our culture and everything we do inside and outside of our company. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.