This Mother’s Day is projected to bring in $23.6 billion in revenue, easily clearing last year’s record of $21.4 billion. For many eCommerce retailers, optimism about the surging order volume over this major shopping holiday is tempered by fear of CNP fraud. As Mother’s Day approaches, we analyzed historical order data to provide eCommerce merchants with tips and insights to help streamline the fraud review process in the days leading up to this lucrative opportunity.

What are we buying our moms?

Obviously, some verticals feel the Mother’s Day effect more than others. Not surprisingly, jewelry, gift cards, and cosmetics have historically experienced the highest increases in order volume leading up to the second Sunday of May. Electronics and fashion also have more orders during this period, but the rise in sales is more modest.

Digging a little deeper, one of the most substantial spikes in order volume is for digital gift cards. The rush on digital cards starts just three days before the holiday–they make excellent last-minute gifts because they don’t require shipping. Interestingly, the average order amount for digital cards during the spike is about 40% lower than average, perhaps because many teenagers and young adults with lower spending power are shopping for their moms. While the volume shoots up, and average order value falls, the rate of fraud attacks on gift cards stays about constant around Mother’s Day, in contrast to the Holiday Season where it drops, and Valentine’s Day where it rises.

“Luv” is in the air

Gift card orders may be worth less before Mother’s Day, but at least they’re well intentioned: In the week preceding Mother’s Day, the word  ‘love’ (or ‘luv’) was featured in gift card messages over seven times more frequently than during other days in May! But of more importance to retailers, the rate of fraud attacks on these orders is far lower than other gift card orders. They can be safely approved at a 6% higher rate than ‘loveless’ orders in the five days before Mother’s Day.

Similarly, in the week leading up to Mother’s Day, the words ‘Mom’ and ‘Mother’ occur in gift card notes far more frequently – 40 times more than an average day in May.  Of orders placed on Mother’s Day itself, those containing these words can be approved at a rate that is 4% higher than those without.

Discount Codes

Mother’s Day related discount codes are usually offered starting mid-April. From their release until the week preceding Mother’s day, orders using these codes are extremely safe, with a near-zero occurrence of fraud attacks. However the week before the holiday there are more fraudulent orders utilizing the codes (although still a relatively low number).

This pattern can be partially explained by the way discount codes are offered as the holiday nears. Well in advance of Mother’s Day, customers use discount codes they’ve received via email and enter them manually during checkout. Fraudsters who are using stolen cards have little incentive to go through the trouble of entering this information. However, in the days immediately before Mother’s Day, merchants often offer automatic coupons during checkout. These codes are universally applied to legitimate customers and fraudsters alike, making them a weaker indicator of legitimacy.

Safe Selling!

The opportunities for eCommerce merchants this Mother’s Day are immense, making it critical for fraud teams to know what to expect. For more information on raising approval rates and minimizing false declines, feel free to reach out to us at Have a great weekend, and don’t forget to show appreciation to your mom!