Online prices are inflating at record rates and apparel tops the list.
Online prices in November hit a record high, increasing 3.5 percent year-over-year, with apparel prices rising 17.3 percent, according to the latest Adobe figures.
“This is the highest year-over-year increase since Adobe first began tracking the digital economy in 2014, and it marks the 18th consecutive month of year-over-year online inflation,” the computer software company reported Thursday.
On a month-to-month basis, prices are down 2 percent due to holiday discounts, Adobe indicated.
While apparel prices online soared 17.3 percent from November 2020 to November 2021, the category was only down 0.4 percent on a month-to-month basis.
According to Adobe, one out of every four dollars is now spent online in the U.S.
During this past November, consumers saw over 3 billion out-of-stock messages online. At the same time, Adobe indicated, demand remains strong: $114 billion was spent from Nov. 1 to Nov. 30, at a notable 13.6 percent growth year-over-year.
“Ongoing supply chain constraints and durable consumer demand have underpinned the record-high inflation in e-commerce, with apparel seeing high volumes of out-of-stock messages online compared to other categories,” Patrick Brown, Adobe’s vice president of growth marketing and insights, said in a statement. “With offline prices surging in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) however, it is still cheaper to shop online for categories such as toys, computers, and sporting goods.”
Powered by Adobe Analytics, the Adobe DPI analyzes 1 trillion visits to retail sites and over 100 million stock keeping units in 18 product categories. Adobe uses a combination of Adobe Sensei, Adobe’s AI and machine learning framework, and manual effort to segment the products into the categories defined by the Consumer Price Index issued by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“Census Bureau data shows that the e-commerce share of non-fuel retail spending has tripled over the last decade as more expenditures like groceries and home improvement move online,” economist Marshall Reinsdorf, a former senior economist at International Monetary Fund, said in a statement.
“Measures of digital economy prices have a growing role to play in how we understand inflation,” said Reinsdorf.
Eleven of the 18 categories tracked by the Adobe Digital Price Index saw year-over-year online price increases in November. Apparel prices rose faster than any other category, while price drops were observed in electronics, personal care products, office supplies, jewelry, books, toys and computers.
On a month-to-month basis, all but four categories — groceries, pet products, tools/home improvement and medical equipment/supplies — saw online prices decrease as holiday discounts kicked in, Adobe reported.
Grocery prices online are up 3.9 percent year-over-year, and 0.6 percent from October to November this year.
Electronics prices are down 0.4 percent year-over-year and down 4 percent from October to November. The category includes gaming consoles, mobile devices, televisions and wearables.
Appliance prices are up 4 percent year-to-year and down 2.7 percent month-to-month. According to Adobe, the category has seen 19 consecutive months of online inflation on an annual basis.
Toy prices online are down 2.9 percent year-over-year, and down 3.6 percent, month-over-month. “Toys is one of few categories where pricing trends follow a historical pattern of persistent, stronger deflation. Books and computers follow a similar trend,” Adobe reported.