While the coronavirus pandemic has hampered spending across the world, it's helping more people adopt digital habits and boosting e-commerce sales.
Visa's (NYSE:V) Chief Product Officer Jack Forestell told MarketWatch recently that 13 million Visa cardholders in Latin America made e-commerce transactions for the first time ever in March. "We're seeing a massive acceleration toward e-commerce adoption," said Forestell, adding that the pandemic has helped accelerate trends that were already starting to form in the payments industry.
U.S. e-commerce sales have reportedly jumped 49% in April, compared to the baseline period in early March before stay-at-home orders went into effect, according to data collected by Adobe. Online grocery helped drive the increase in sales, with a 110% boost in daily sales between March and April, while electronic sales grew 58%.
International-payments volume in Visa's most recent fiscal quarter grew 4% in constant dollars year over year, including 14% growth in Latin America. Payment volume in the Central Europe, Middle East, and Africa region grew 19%.
Overall, Visa reported net income in the second fiscal quarter of the year of roughly $3.1 billion, up 4% year over year on a GAAP basis.
Visa CFO Vasant Prabhu said on the recent earnings call that while the company's short-term performance will likely struggle, it remains confident in long-term growth prospects. He said the pandemic is speeding up tap-to-pay adoption and possibly creating permanent changes, such as using digital-payment methods to obtain food and drug items, which previously were completed more heavily through face-to-face transactions.
"There is certainly a growing tendency to not want to use cash," he added. "And also, of course, not even just a tap your card, the aversion to cash could be persistent, which means that even face-to-face transactions or penetration of digital forms of payment could be growing in a permanent and structural way faster than it might have prior to the crisis."