Out-of-stock messages blasted through the two billion mark in October, according to Adobe data, up 250% from the most recent pre-pandemic month of January 2020 and up 325% compared to October 2019, the last pre-Covid holiday season.
“Of the 18 categories tracked by Adobe, electronics has the highest out-of-stock levels currently, followed by jewelry, apparel, home & garden, and pet products,” Adobe said.
Adobe, which manages analytics for thousands of retailers, says that holiday shopping has begun earlier than ever, with Americans spending $72.4 billion online with 8% year-over-year growth. Toy sales are up 50%, groceries are up 34%, and video games are up 20%.
Those out of stock situations have a significant impact on pricing.
According to Adobe, traditional holiday discounts are much weaker than previous years, with many categories seeing half or less than half of of last year’s discount rates, although TVs are almost the same, as is furniture, and the toys category is seeing larger discounts.
- Electronics: 8.7% discount (was 13.2% last year)
- Sporting Goods: 2.8% discount (was 11.2% last year)
- Appliances: 4.6% discount (was 10.2% last year)
- Tools: no discount, prices up 1.2% (was 6.8% discount last year)
“With over 2 billion out-of-stock messages last month, consumers are beginning to understand the real impact of the supply chain challenges,” director of Adobe Digital Insights Taylor Schreiner said in a statement. “Some have begun to adjust their holiday strategy accordingly, with parents shopping for toys earlier and some settling for gift cards this season. For those who have not yet started their holiday shopping, they will need to be prepared to be flexible.”
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Top holiday products so far include Facebook’s (errr, Meta’s) Oculus Quest 2, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series S, and media streaming tools from Amazon and Roku.
Adobe’s data is the most comprehensive available, the company says, and is based on “over one trillion visits to U.S. retail sites and over 100 million SKUs in 18 product categories.”