The world as we know it has been turned on its head and in this time of crisis, we need data. Data tells us what’s really happening and informs good decisions. In that spirit, the Kasada research team conducted analyses across our global customer base to detect changes in online behavior in the past 2-3 weeks. The data we gathered provides valuable information about online traffic patterns that are particularly insightful in today’s environment.

Insight 1: Panic buying

We started with the obvious - panic buying.

The most highly sought-after items in the press, across a range of countries included basic items like toilet paper, sanitizer, non-perishable foods, home office supplies, etc.

Google trends shows a 50x increase in searches for “toilet paper” compared to a 16 year average.

Next we ran a query that looked at the legitimate purchasing of all items that qualified in the panic buying category across all our customers.


According to the AFR Woolworths in Australia sold a week's worth of toilet paper in just one day. The graph above which includes multiple customers and multiple products suggests that online interest was 20-30 times the norm. As for U.S. retailers, toilet paper sales nationally jumped about 213% in the week ending March 14 across retailers like COSTCO, Walmart and Target, compared to the same period a year before, according to market research firm Nielsen.

Insight 2: The scale of increases in e-commerce traffic

When looking more broadly at e-commerce in the online retail sector, across a large number of sites we can see a dramatic increase in traffic related to COVID-19. These peaks rival the traffic volumes reached in the two major sales events in 2019: Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Boxing Day Sales.


The peaks that we have seen in the last week are almost equal to what was a record Black Friday sales period.

Since global lockdowns are forcing people to buy online, too nervous to venture out into the real world, businesses are realizing the urgency in preparing to respond to the rapid increase, and deliver a safe, reliable online purchasing experience.

Insight 3: Bot activity

We’ve also seen a dramatic increase in malicious/bot traffic.

ATO (account takeover) attacks have been seen across multiple industries, DDoS attacks have increased, and data scraping has amplified. Bloomberg recently reported in an article details of the cyberattacks that hit the U.S. Health and Human Services Department (HHS) aiming at distributing disinformation on its response strategy to the coronavirus pandemic.

Content scraping

Let’s look at the content scraping statistics:

The connection may not be obvious. Why would we be seeing a 3x increase in content scraping activity?

Our content scraping dataset is predominantly based on two industries: e-commerce (price scraping) and listings (data scraping). Knowledge is king - cost position and gaining a competitive advantage is critical in this market now. Businesses are competing harder for market share and knowing or matching your competitors' pricing strategy is now, more than ever, very important. So they get to scraping.

Listings businesses are also seeing a 3x increase in scraping activity. The dots are harder to connect here unless you consider the broader market. Measuring property, employment and car sales data is a key insight that can help shape investment strategies, and investment firms are more desperate for data than ever. With the heightened level of interest in the impact of COVID19, The “alternate data” market (ie: free data from web scraping) is on fire.

Takeaways

  • Rise in traffic load - huge in some sectors - businesses need to increase capacity and protect against non-legitimate traffic
  • Increased pressure on customer experience - customers will gravitate towards the most reliable, highest performing websites
  • Fierce competition online - businesses need to protect their pricing from their competitors' scraping
  • Surge in fraudulent activity - understanding activity against your site & protecting customer data is critical.

We got this.

The team here at Kasada is here to help business leaders navigate this new reality.

We’ll help your business reduce the cost of serving non-human, malicious traffic and ensure legitimate customers have better experiences.

We deploy remotely and quickly, our time to value is less than 30 minutes.
Contact us here for a conversation today.