Online shoppers were hit with the 17th consecutive month of e-commerce price increases in October, according to the latest Adobe Digital Price Index report, released today.
The October numbers are further evidence that online prices, which used to be a deflationary economic force, are likely to have the opposite impact for the forseeable future.
The surge in online shopping triggered by the pandemic, coupled with supply chain shortages, has reversed a long pattern of annual price decreases for online goods.
“E-commerce is not the safe haven it once was” for shoppers looking to save money, Adobe concludes in its report.
In October, prices rose 1.9%, year over year, and 0.9% month over month. In contrast, in pre-pandemic October, 2019, online retailers headed into the holiday season with prices down 6.6% year over year in October.
“After 17 consecutive months of online inflation, we are entering a new normal in the digital economy,” said Vivek Pandya, lead analyst, Adobe Digital Insights. As e-commerce becomes a greater share of overall retail, online price trends have more of an impact on consumers and the overall economy, Pandya said.
Offline prices, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, rose at a much faster pace in October, up 6.2% inflation year over year. But Adobe considers the online inflation to be particularly significant in contrast to the previous price reductions.
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Between 2015 and 2019, e-commerce prices fell an average of 3.9% each year, with annual declines of 4 to 5% typical, according to Adobe.
Consumers can also expect weaker discounts online this holiday season, Adobe predicts.
Despite the higher prices and a record 2 billion out-of-stock messages in October, consumers still spent over $72 million online last month – 8% more than October, 2020, Adobe reported.
Adobe is forecasting that U.S. consumers will spend a record-breaking $207 billion online this holiday season, with 17% of those sales occurring between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday.
It expects that $1 out of every $4 of holiday spending – or 25% – will be spent online this year.
The Adobe Digital Price index uses anonymized Adobe Analytics data pulled from over 1 trillion visits to e-commcerce sites covering over 100 million SKUs in 18 product categories.