Adobe Analytics predicts that 2022 will be the first trillion-dollar year for e-commerce.
This year, e-commerce is seen generating between $850 billion and $930 billion in revenue in the U.S. alone, according to Adobe.
The software giant also reported Monday that COVID-19 was responsible for a 20 percent lift in online spending within the pandemic-riddled March 2020 to February 2021 period. In other words, COVID-19 gave e-commerce an extra boost of $183 billion as consumers flocked online to meet their daily needs. That was nearly the size of the November to December 2020 holiday shopping season, where $188.2 billion was spent online.
In the calendar year 2020, $813 billion was spent online, whereas through the pandemic — March 2020 to February 2021 — a total of $844 billion was spent online, Adobe said.
Adobe’s statistics come from the company’s “Digital Economy Index,” which analyzes trillions of online transactions across 100 million product skus (stock keeping units) in 18 product categories.
Adobe Analytics also concluded that:
- In January and February 2021 consumers spent $121 billion online, a 34 percent growth year-over-year.
- Buy now, pay later plans are booming, recording a 215 percent year-over-year increase in the first two months of 2021. Adobe attributes the usage growth to more retailers offering the plans and consumers dealing with financial uncertainty. Still, consumers using buy now, pay later plans (such as Klarna) are placing orders that are 18 percent larger than those who don’t.
- With people staying indoors more due to the pandemic, they are updating their homes. Hence, spending online for home improvement products grew 60 percent during January and February 2021.
- Apparel grew 22 percent in the first two months of 2021, but lagged other major categories.
- Growth in online grocery shopping has persisted. From Feb. 1 to 21, the category grew by 230 percent.
Last year, stockouts in several categories occurred due to pandemic-related increased demand and import delays. “Out of stock” messages first surfaced in July 2020, according to Adobe, when shoppers saw three times more stockouts compared to a pre-pandemic period.
In January 2021, out of stock messages were still elevated at four times pre-pandemic levels, Adobe said. In an Adobe survey of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers, respondents cited that in January 2021, groceries, medical supplies and pet products were out of stock online more often than other categories.
Adobe also reported that “branded” shopping days, meaning those tied to holidays, lost importance last year as online shopping became “a ubiquitous daily activity during the pandemic.” The five days between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday 2020, for example, contributed nine percent less to revenue share during the holiday season, equivalent to $600 million.
In addition, the Adobe report confirmed what was already suspected, that BOPIS (buy online, pick up in store) is here to stay since it involves less contact with individuals and shoppers feel it’s a safer way to receive goods. Adobe said that online orders being picked up inside stores or curbside grew 67 in February 2021 from February 2020.
The Adobe Digital Economy Index also tracks movement in online prices, as an economic indicator for consumer purchasing power and digital inflation. The index indicates that digital purchasing power slumped in 2020. Consumers typically see a 4 percent increase in purchase power online over the course of an average year. This means for every $1 spent, shoppers get $1.04 worth of goods. In 2020, it decreased by 1 percent as a surge in demand was faced with limited supply, higher prices, and new fulfillment costs.
In addition, inflation has slowed on goods being sold online. Prices on electronics were only down 2.2 percent in January 2021 versus down 10.4 percent in January 2020, with computers down 6 percent last January versus 13.5 percent in the year-ago month, Adobe said.
Grocery prices were down 4.2 percent last January versus 6 percent in the year-ago month; home and garden prices were 3.9 percent down last January versus 9.3 percent the year before.