As the world adjusts to the new reality, clearly technology plays a positive role, helping us stay socially connected while physically keeping a distance. Telehealth, video conferencing, and remote learning are all playing key roles in reducing the risk of spread while enabling many of us to maintain our ability to stay connected and thus stay healthy, work from home, and educate our children. Now more than ever, whether personally or professionally, like many others, I am grateful for these critical advantages afforded by technology.

E-commerce is another bright spot, playing a major role in helping maintain normalcy even as so much around us is in flux. Recent surveys have found that people are spending on average 10-30% more online and that the number of unique digital shoppers rose 40% year-over-year.

Many segments of the e-commerce industry are absolutely booming.  Shoppers are buying everything online, from bread machines (up 652%) to weights (up 307%), as we all prepare to hunker down at home much of the time for the foreseeable future. (Needless  to say, other manufacturers and distributors are sorely feeling the converse effect; for instance, no one is really thinking about buying luggage at this time.)

The New Reality of Shopping

Among e-commerce executives I’ve spoken to in recent weeks, the belief is that as more shoppers become accustomed to buying online, they may not return to shopping as usual even as brick-and-mortar stores re-open. I believe that consumer behaviors—what, how, when, and how much people buy—will be significantly altered in the long term.

For the first time, significant numbers of older generations may be more comfortable doing their grocery shopping online and may opt to continue to do so, even as it begins to become safer to venture out. Likewise, other shoppers may have come to appreciate the convenience of online subscription delivery services for household staples.

Men are shopping online more frequently than in the past, with 24% reporting  an increase  in their online shopping frequency, while online shopping by women has risen by 18%.

There’s no doubt that more and more people are shopping online more than ever before and that they will continue to do so for some time to come.

Some Behaviors Never Change

Of course, not everything is rosy when it comes to e-commerce right now. Predictably, while e-commerce is surging wildly, bad behavior by bad actors is also experiencing a pandemic-related boom. Like sharks in a feeding frenzy, cybercriminals and bot operators are looking to take aggressive advantage of the circumstances. Growth in volume, new businesses entering the e-commerce space, and new products being added faster than ever—all of this sudden, intensive, high-velocity activity means increased vulnerability for online businesses…and boundless opportunities for predators.

As we reported last month, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in malicious bot traffic, including data scraping, account takeover, and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. We’ve seen a three-fold increase in content scraping activity, with e-commerce price scraping representing the lion’s share. (You can read more about our data here).

Watch Your APIs

CIOs and CTOs are organizing their teams to quickly deploy digital apps and storefronts to shift offline sales to online, or scale out existing e-commerce capabilities to handle spikes in online shopping volume, along with frequent changes to product selection. In their need to act swiftly and decisively, they may be neglecting to protect the APIs involved.

Already significantly under-defended, APIs are a favorite prey of cybercriminals seeking to launch automated attacks against vulnerable targets. Alarmingly, nearly half of companies (45%) do not feel confident in their ability  to detect malicious use of their APIs. Over half (51%) are not confident that their security team is even aware of all of the APIs that exist in their organization.

Whether you’re selling household goods, garden supplies, designer face masks, or anything else right now, your company needs to ensure that all your APIs are protected against the rapidly increasing volume of automated attacks.

Insisting on a solution that delivers a time-to-value in minutes, and easy to use for your staff, is critical to protecting your brand as you adapt to this new reality.