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Adobe: 2024 e-commerce spend exceeds $330 billion so far

E-commerce spending is showing positive trends in 2024.

The first four months of 2024 showed healthy e-commerce spending growth from the same period in 2023.

According to new Adobe Analytics figures, e-commerce spending from Jan. 1 to April 30, 2024 rose 7% year-over-year (YoY) to $331.6 billion. The first half of 2024 is expected to drive over $500 billion in spend online, representing 6.8% YoY growth. 

Adobe analysis indicates this growth has been supported by stable spend in discretionary categories including electronics and apparel, along with a continued surge in grocery shopping online. The numbers are not adjusted for inflation, but if online inflation were factored in, there would be higher growth in topline consumer spend.

In the first four months of 2024, consumers spent $61.8 billion online for electronics (up 3.1% YoY) and $52.5 billion for apparel (up 2.6% YoY). Both categories account for 34.5% of overall e-commerce spend and helped maintain topline growth, according to Adobe. 

Groceries drove $38.8 billion in online spending, rising significantly with 15.7% YoY growth. Another improving online category has been cosmetics, which Adobe is profiling for the first time. 

Cosmetics drove $35 billion in online spend in 2023, with 15.6% YoY growth tracked by Adobe. The upward trend has continued in 2024, with consumers spending $13.2 billion online for cosmetics in 2024 thus far, up 8% YoY.

Online shoppers trade down

One e-commerce trend Adobe identified for the first four months of 2024 is an inflation-driven of shifting online spending to less expensive goods. For each category tracked by Adobe, prices were separated into four quartiles from the highest to lowest prices. 

Shares of units sold in the most expensive and least expensive quartiles were then tracked from January 2019 to April 2024. Adobe found the share of the cheapest goods increased significantly across categories including personal care (up 96%), electronics (up 64%), apparel (up 47%), home/garden (up 42%), furniture/bedding (up 42%), and grocery (up 33%). 

The share of cheapest goods increased less dramatically in sporting goods (up 28%), appliances (up 26%), tools/home improvement (up 26%) and toys (up 25%).

Buy now, pay later (BNPL) keeps growing

From January to April 2024, Adobe analysis indicates that $25.9 billion of e-commerce spend was driven by BNPL, up 11.8% from the same period the prior year. Adobe expects strong BNPL growth through the remainder of 2024, with the flexible payment option set to drive between $81 billion and $84.8 billion in online spend, putting year-over-year growth between 8% and 13%. 

Other findings

  • In the first four months of 2024, mobile drove $156.9 billion in online spend, up 9.8% YoY. In the next holiday season (Nov-Dec 2024), Adobe expects mobile to overtake desktop again at 52.5% share of revenue online (compared to its 51.1% share of online holiday spend in 2023). 
  • Across major marketing channels, paid search remained the biggest driver of sales for retailers so far this year (28.2% of online sales attributable to that channel). Direct web visits (19.6%), affiliates/partners (17.1%), organic search (15.9%) and email (15.4%) were also major contributors. 
  • Revenue directly attributable to social media remained at less than 5% of total sales, but that share has grown at 5.2% YoY. Organic search has declined by 5.6% YoY, currently driving 15.9% of total sales.
  • Strong consumer spending this year has been driven by net-new demand, as opposed to higher prices. The Adobe Digital Price Index, which tracks online prices across 18 product categories, shows that e-commerce prices have fallen for over a year now (down 5.6% YoY in April 2024). 

Adobe analyzes direct consumer transactions online. The analysis covers over one trillion visits to U.S. retail sites, 100 million SKUs and 18 product categories — more than any other technology company or research organization. Adobe Analytics is part of Adobe Experience Cloud, which over 85% of the top 100 internet retailers in the U.S. use to deliver, measure and personalize shopping experiences online.

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